Author Archives: Mangrove Action Project

Late Friday News, 136th Ed., 26 April 2004

Dear Friends, April 24, 04
This is the 136th Edition of the Late Friday News brought to you after a brief hiatus while this editor visited in S. America.

This newsletter is brought to you for free, but PLEASE help MAP stay in this fight for the future by becoming a donating subscriber today! Check our website for details or contact: mangroveap@olympus.net

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 136th Edition, 26 April 2004
FEATURE STORY
Where Will The Mangroves Grow?
GREENLAND ICE-SHEET MELTING RAPIDLY

MAP WORKS
Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched
Progress on new CCRC Continues in Indonesia
MAP Curriculum Getting A Startup in the Philippines
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves
MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand
Race to save local dugong

Indonesia
Mangrove trees cut down, firms summoned
Support the victims of Newmont,s Gold Mining and Submarine Tailings Disposal

Cambodia
Where have all the fish gone?

S. ASIA

Bangladesh
Sundarbans going extinct
Sundari vanishing fast
Poaching: A threat to Bengal tigers
The Sundarbans: the new episode
ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER AVERTED BY HALTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF CLUSTER VILLAGE
Mangrove grabbing stopped for now

EAST ASIA

China
The impact of shrimp farming on China Mangroves

LATIN AMERICA
Ecuador
The People Want To Manage Their Own Mangroves

Costa Rica
Wetlands Under Threat

THE CARIBBEAN
After 50 years, SDC slated to enhance Maiden Island

NORTH AMERICA
USA
New American NGO set up to promote aquaculture in developing countries
WHITE SPOT DISEASE IN USA Shrimp Farm
The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy
Shrimp on menu for Sussex farmers

STORIES/ISSUES
No antibiotics are currently approved by the FDA for use with shrimp
WORLD’S MARINE LIFE IS GETTING SICKER

ANNOUNCEMENTS
SWS Ramsar Support Grant Program – Announcement of 2004 Awards
IUCN Small Grants for Tourism fund
Farming the Seas: New PBS Film Documentary
Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 1997-2001

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
New Handbook of Mangroves in the
Philippines

CALL FOR PAPERS
DEADLINE JUNE 1 FOR WETLANDS 2004
Launch of the Asian Waterbird Census report 1997-2001

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Dynamic New Film Explores Impacts of Salmon Farming
Concern over ?sh-farm pesticides

AROUND THE CORNER
Diluting The Waters With Salmon Farming?

FEATURE STORY
Where Will The Mangroves Grow?

Note from the LFN Editor: If the sea levels rise so rapidly in the Southern Hemisphere due to global warming, where will the mangroves go? Can they “move” upland in time to avoid being completely inundated by rising seas? And, what of the shrimp farms, tourist hotels, farms and highways now being built “behind the mangroves,” as short-sighted measures, supposedly meant to protect these existing mangrove zones? The problem with developing these industries and expanding urban or agricultural developments behind the mangroves is that these areas would naturally be the same sites the mangroves would potentially “migrate to” if the sea levels rise.

In essence, modern developments are robbing the future shorelines of places for mangroves to naturally plant themselves. Will we need to remove the shrimp farms, hotels, farms, coastal roadways and urban developments to make room for the mangroves as sea levels rise due to our inability to control our ravenous appetites for burning fossil fuels? Will this be possible, or are we seeing the sandwiching in of the last stands of mangrove forests between the rock of rising seas and the hard place of unsustainable development?

=====

GREENLAND ICE-SHEET MELTING RAPIDLY

New reports indicate that ice sheets in Greenland and elsewhere are melting at accelerating rates, a phenomenon the authors have linked to global warming. In an article published in Sciencexpress, NASA scientists reported that increases in ice velocity during the summer are correlated with the timing and the intensity of ice sheet surface
melting. New measurements show that the flow of ice in the Greenland ice sheet has been accelerating since 1996 during the summer melt season. The results suggest that the ice sheet may be responding more quickly to the warming climate than previously thought. A report in
Nature indicates that the Greenland ice-sheet would melt faster and raise sea level by up to 7 meters in a warmer climate–a situation likely to occur during this century. Authors Jonathan M. Gregory, Philippe Huybrechts, and Sarah C. B. Raper say that the sheet is likely to be almostcompletely eliminated if annual average temperatures in
Greenland increase by more than about 3 degrees C. The report’s research found that concentrations of greenhouse gases will probably reach levels before 2100 that are sufficient to raise temperatures beyond this warming threshold.
—SOURCES: Sciencexpress, April 7,
Nature, April 7,
Volume 428, No. 6983, www.nature.com/

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

here

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

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Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop

The third “Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop will be held at the Anne Kolb Nature Center, in Hollywood, Florida, USA, 21-24 February 2005. The training site is within a 500 ha mangrove restoration project at West Lake Park operated by Broward County. The award-winning project was designed by Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III, who will be teaching the course.

The workshop includes an introduction to mangrove forest ecology, management options and problems, and restoration design issues. The class programs are all given in a PowerPoint format, and each student is provided with a print out of the presentation and additional handouts including monitoring reports for typical restoration projects. Case studies of 5 successful mangrove restoration projects, and several unsuccessful projects, are discussed. Field trips are taken within the 500 ha West Lake Park mangrove restoration project (now 16 years old) and a new project just two years old, for a comparison.

The emphasis is on cost-effective successful mangrove management and restoration, and cost figures for typical projects are discussed and explained. The hydrologic restoration of mangroves is emphasized as the best approach to successful restoration at minimal cost (see Erftemeijer and Lewis 2000, Lewis 1999, 2000a, 2000b, Lewis and Marshall 1998, Lewis and Streever 2000, Stevenson et. al 1999, and Turner and Lewis 1997, for further discussion about hydrologic restoration of mangroves). Planting of mangroves is discussed in light of the many failures of this alone to successfully restore mangroves.

Cost for the course not including travel to Ft. Lauderdale, lodging or food is $650, due by January 1, 2005. Two qualified students will be allowed to attend for free. This course is taught in conjunction with the Mangrove Action Project.

More information can be provided by Sherry Capaz at
and www.mangroverestoration.com.

Literature Citations:

Erftemeijer, P. L. A., and R. R. Lewis III. 2000. Planting mangroves on intertidal mudflats: habitat restoration or habitat conversion? Pages 156-165 in Proceedings of the ECOTONE VIII Seminar “Enhancing Coastal Ecosystems Restoration for the 21st Century, Ranong, Thailand, 23-28 May 1999. Royal Forest Department of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand.

Lewis, R. R. 1999. Key concepts in successful ecological restoration of mangrove forests. Pages 12-32 in Proceedings of the TCE-Workshop No. II, Coastal Environmental Improvement in Mangrove/Wetland Ecosystems, 18-23 August 1998, Ranong, Thailand. Danish-SE Asian Collaboration in Tropical Coastal Ecosystems (TCE) Research and Training. NACA, P.O. Box 1040, Bangkok, Thailand 10903

Lewis, R. R. 2000a. Don’t forget wetland habitat protection and restoration for Florida’s fisheries. National Wetlands Newsletter 22(6): 9-10 + 20.

Lewis, R. R. 2000b. Ecologically based goal setting in mangrove forest and tidal marsh restoration in Florida. Ecological Engineering 15(3-4): 191-198.

Lewis, R.. R., and M. J. Marshall. 1998. Principles of successful restoration of shrimp aquaculture ponds back to mangrove forests. Page 327 in World Aquaculture Society Book of Abstracts, Aquaculture ’98, Las Vegas, Nevada. (Abstract)

Lewis, R.. R., and W. Streever. 2000. Restoration of mangrove habitat. Tech Note ERDC TN-WRP-VN-RS-3.2 U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi. 7 pp. (click here)

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W.. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

Turner, R. E., and R. R. Lewis. 1997. Hydrologic restoration of coastal wetlands. Wetlands Ecol. Manage. 4(2):65-72.

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

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Progress on new CCRC Continues in Indonesia

The newest Coastal Communities Resource Center (CCRC) at Kuala Indah, located near Medan, Indonesia (the scheduled location for IHOF #10) is complete. It looks verygood. Construction on the public restrooms began last week.

April 22 (Earth Day): The “Do Your Own Mangrove Action Project” curriculum went to the printers where we will print 1000 copies in Indonesian language. The total cost is less than 40 cents per copy. We will pass these out at the IHOF #10, (a small number of English versions and also CD-Roms with PDF files will be made available as well). Also we will distribute these to 120 CBCRM NGO’s in Indonesia, and CUSO is taking 20 copies to Timor. In the future we will hold fee-based trainings on the use of this curriculum. We will sell the remaining copies to folks interested (most likely associated with future trainings) for 10,000 rp a copy or $1.25. We attached a price so that only folks serious about using the book will request a copy, otherwise the books will end up getting used to wrap fish and fried tofu. If demand is high, we will hold on to proceeds to print another batch, if not, proceeds go back into the program.

April 27 – May 1: Two trainers from Asian Regional Cookstove Program will make their long-awaited visit to Kuala Indah to host an improved-cookstove workshop with villagers from Kuala Indah and Gombus Laut. They will build a Nypah/Coconut Palm Sugar stove near the CCRC, and also create some fuel-efficient cookstoves for domestic use. The workshop will be basically the same as the workshop held earlier at the CCRC in Tiwoho, which had great success in terms of sparking local community interest and follow-up.

Iin the Hands of the Fishers (HOF) #10 workhop is scheduled for May 24-27, 2004 at the new CCRC at Kuala Indah .

From: “Ben Brown”
.
=====

MAP Curriculum Getting A Startup in the Philippines

For the past year Martin Keeeley, MAP’s Education Director, has been working via e-mail with Vicky Mendoza at the Centre for Environmental Awareness & Education at Quezon City in the
Philippines. They will soon be working on adapting/translating the curriculum for use in the
Philippines.

The next phase in the Philippines will be the publication of the curriculum and conducting
teacher workshops there. Vicky has agreed to be the liason person, using her position at the centre where she works as the base. Now we need to find
some money to pay for the workshops publication/printing of the curriculum, and airfare to get Martin there to run the workshops.

Around $8,000 to $10,000 is needed to complete the project. Any help towads raising the funds for this important project is greatly appreciated.

Please contact Martin Keeley directly via internet at at:

======

ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

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Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

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Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. GROUNDSFORCHANGE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair TradeFederation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

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Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand

MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT,S
SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM
An experiential study of Thailand,s coastal resources
And the people who depend on them

A new exciting two-week experiential ecology program will provide an opportunity to learn about Thailand,s mangrove forests and other critical, but often threatened coastal wetlands. Visit Thailand’s first coastal national park located on the Gulf of Thailand and world famous Phang Nga Bay and the Island of Phuket on the Andaman Sea. Learn about the ecological importance of mangroves, the endangered Dugong and see water birds, languors, and mud skippers. Learn what the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) and a local Thai NGO are doing to conserve mangroves. Stay with a fisherfolk family on an island in Phang Nga Bay and experience first hand their culture and efforts to protect the coastal resources on which that their livelihood depends. An extra John Gray SeaCanoe Eco-tour can be arranged at the tour end to view the amazing mangroves and caves of Phang Nga Bay from the vantage point of a kayak, a truly intimate marine experience. www.johngray-seacanoe.com/

Program Dates: July 4-17
Fee not including airfare or food: $800/person
For more information contact: Dr. Lamar Robert lamar@thailand.com
Mangrove Action Project’s website.

======
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being considered for late August/ early September 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

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John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first of many Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32°C
Humid.: 70 %
(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand

Race to save local dugong

Scientists hope cries hold key to survival

Ranjana Wangvipula

Staff at Phuket Marine Biological Centre examine an eight-month-old female dugong whose mouth was believed injured by a boad’t propeller. – Phuket Marine Biological Centre
Scientists are studying the cries of local dugong in a bid to devise a system that may be used to save the endangered sea mammal from extinction.

Dugong experts from the Phuket Marine Biological Centre have been working in collaboration with a research team from Kyoto University in Japan since January 2003.

In late February, they began using hydrophones to record the sounds of dugong off Libong Island, Trang province, around the clock.

All data had been stored for further analysis by Japanese graduate students specialising in the cries of dugong.

The scientists believed the sounds could be used to ward dugong away from fishing nets, in which many become entangled and die.

“The cry for fright could be recorded and played back to scare dugong away from trawlers,” suggested Marine and Coastal Resources deputy chief Udom Bhatiyasevi.

Dugong expert Kanjana Adulyanukosol, who took part in the study, said aural analysis would reveal more about dugong behaviour, including migration patterns.

She said this knowledge may lead to the development of a detector that could alert fishermen to dugong in their vicinity.

“The analysis should take at least half a year to complete,” she said.

Ms Kanjana was also recording the cries of a 8-month-old female dugong currently staying at the Phuket centre.

The main study was being conducted in a bid to save the country’s surviving dugong population of about 200.

In Australia, about 80,000 dugong live in special no-fishing zones.

Before they were declared a protected species, local dugong were previously killed for their meat and teeth, which were believed to bring good luck.

Ms Kanjana said without a sincere conservation plan, dugong may still become extinct in Thailand within 50 years.

From MAP / S.E. Asia” mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

Indonesia

Mangrove trees cut down, firms summoned

Source : The Jakarta Post, April 07, 2004
By Damar Harsanto Jakarta
Three companies have been summoned by a joint investigative team led by the City Agricultural and Forestry Agency over the felling of at least 200 mangrove trees along the Sedyatmo toll road in Kapuk, North Jakarta. The trees were reportedly cut down to make billboards along the toll road more visible to passing motorists.

“We have sent summonses to three companies as witnesses in this case. They are toll road operator PT Jasa Marga, ad agency PT Rainbow Cipta Utama and PT Mandara Permai, the developer of the advertisement spots,” agency head Peni Susanti told The Jakarta Post by phone on Tuesday.

Peni said representatives of the three companies had to appear to answer questions within three days of receiving the summonses.

“My agency will lead the joint team, which also comprises forest rangers, the city police and the North Jakarta Police,” she said.

She cited Government Regulation No. 1/2004, which replaced Law No. 41/1999 on forestry, as the legal grounds for the investigation. The regulation stipulates that the unauthorized felling of trees is illegal. Those found guilty of violating the regulation face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The new regulation carries heavier sanctions than Law No. 41/1999, which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison or a fine of up to Rp 5 billion (US$588,235).

Aside from mangrove trees, the forestry agency found that other types of trees had also been cut down, including palm trees. The agency earlier received a report that 102 trees had been felled. But when it conducted a field check, it found that more than 200 had been lost.

“We recorded all of the different types of trees in the forest. That is why we know how many trees were cut down,” she said.

She deplored the felling of the mangrove trees, which play a crucial role in preventing seawater intrusion, land abrasion and flooding along the northern coast of the city.

“It is difficult to rehabilitate mangrove forests. We have to plant the seeds in a swampy area. Even if we succeed, each mangrove seed will only grow to a height of 30 centimeters within a year,” she said.

The head of the City Environmental Management Agency, Kosasih Wirahadikusumah, said on Tuesday his agency would demand that those parties responsible for cutting down the trees replace them by planting trees in other locations, the administration’s official online news source, BeritaJakarta.com, reported.

Earlier, City Park Agency head Sarwo Handhayani said the felling of the mangrove trees had been reported six weeks ago by urban activist Marco Kusumawijaya.

The agency found that additional trees along the Sedyatmo toll road were cut down two weeks ago.

From: Russ Cullinane coasia@indo.net.id

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Support the victims of Newmont,s Gold Mining and Submarine Tailings Disposal

Only three months remain until the closure of the Newmont Minahasa Raya gold mining operations in North Sulawesi, an operation that has left local communities facing a poverty and health crisis. Help the people of Sulawesi hold Newmont Minahasa Raya accountable for the seven years of rights violations and environmental destruction.

TAKE ACTION by sending the following letter to key decision-makers to protest the dangers of Submarine Tailings Disposal (STD), a method of dumping toxic mine waste into the ocean, banned in many countries because of the environmental impacts. JATAMA.ORG
STD devastated the community around the Newmont operation, and will be applied again by Newcrest Mining Ltd in North Halmahera and North Sulawesi, and by BHP Billiton in Gag Island, a site that UNESCO has shortlisted as a World Heritage Site for its biodiversity riches.

Submarine Tailings Disposal destroys the environment and coastal communities, and must be banned.

Background- Newmont Minahasa Raya, North Sulawesi

In 1996, production of NMR,s gold mines commenced with great promises of community prosperity and economic growth but instead caused severe environmental devstation and numerous human right violations. At no point did NMR or the government of North Sulawesi consult with the communities or involve them in decision-making. This violates the principle of prior, informed consent, which dictates participation from the community in resource projects.

NMR,s profits since 1999 have been $1.3 million/ day. By contrast, the communities of Buyat Bay and Ratatotok have been left impoverished by unfair compensation for their land (Rp 250/m2 or $0.02) and a collapsed fishery caused by pollution.

NMR applied Submarine Tailings Disposal (STD), a method of dumping toxic mine waste into the ocean. The company installed a pipeline for waste disposal 9km from the mine site to the bay, at a depth of 82 metres, and disposed 2000 tons of mine waste every day.

The communities are now facing a health crisis, a direct result of STD. NMR used a cyanide-leaching process, which resulted in the contamination of water sources with various toxic materials, including mercury and arsenic. Buyat villagers suffer from a variety of health problems including tumours, on their entire body, severe headaches and birth defects.

On March 30, the communities in North Sulawesi staged a demonstration and submitted a statement to PT NMR and the provincial government of North Sulawesi demanding:
_ compensation to the people of Ratatotok for their land.
_ environmental rehabilitation in the villages of Ratatotok and Buyat Bay.
_ economic compensation for the loss of livelihoods suffered by the communities of Ratatotok and Buyat Bay.
_ health services for the communities around Buyat Bay for the next 30 years.

How You Can Help Email or fax this sample letter to the various recipients listed. JATAM will also distribute your letter to several levels of local government throughout Indonesia.
====

***ACTION ALERT***!!!

To Whom it May Concern:

I am writing to express support for the villages of Buyat Bay and Ratatotok in North Sulawesi, Indonesia and call on the government of Indonesia to force Newmont Minahasa Raya to conduct mine closure in a manner that meets international standards.

Newmont Minahasa Raya will close its mine site this year, leaving behind many environmental and social problems for the community. Recently, the community expressed their demands to NMR and the provincial government of North Sulawesi to compensate them for the loss of their land and livelihoods, to ensure that environmental rehabilitation be conducted for the area surrounding the mining location, and health services be provided for the communities.

For the seven years of operation, Newmont Minahasa Raya employed the controversial Submarine Tailings Disposal (STD), a method of waste disposal that is banned in many countries for the negative impacts to the environment. This STD operation dumped 2000 tons of mining wastes daily into Buyat Bay, destroying the marine environment , and causing the collapse of the local fishery, the only source of livelihood for the community. This violates the community,s right to a sustainable livelihood.

The community is also facing a health crisis, with several people ill with tumours, severe headaches, and birth defects, all symptoms of heavy metal contamination. There are no health services for the community.

The violation of rights by Newmont Minahasa Raya of the community sets a dangerous precedent for other communities and provides a tragic example of the use of harmful technology and its human impacts. At no point in the process were the communities of Buyat Bay or Ratatotok involved in decision making, nor were they consulted on the price they were offered for their land, a shocking 250 Rp or $0.02/m2, nor were they informed of the health risks they were to face with the mine operations.

Therefore, I write this letter to:

1. Demand Newmont Minahasa Raya be held accountable to the communities afflicted by providing health services and fair compensation for lost land and livelihoods

2. Call on the government of Indonesia to enforce legitimate mechanisms to force PT NMR to conduct mine closure that meets international standards

3. Demand the Indonesian government prohibit the use of Submarine Tailings Disposal in Papua, North Halmahera and North Sulawesi.

4. Call for the international ban on the use of Submarine Tailings Disposal, a practise that devastates the environment and coastal communities

Sincerely,

=====
President of Republic of Indonesia, Megawati Soekarnoputri
Fax: (+62 21) 345 7782
E-mail: presiden@ri.go.id
(don,t add a what seems to be a missing ?t,!)

Members of the Deep Sea Tailings Placement Steering Committee
ACMER (Australian Center for Mining Environmental Research):
Dr. Clive Bell e-mail: c.bell@mailbox.uq.edu.su
Keith Eigeland e-mail: acmer.project@uq.edu.au
Dr. Harvey D. van Veldhuizen, Hvanveldhuizen@worldbank.org

The World Bank Group
Attn: JamesD. Wolfensohn, President
fax: (202) 477-6391
email: jwolfensohn@worldbank.org

Newmont Mining Corporation
Attn: Wayne Murdy
President
1700 Lincoln Street
Denver, Colorado
USA 80203
Telephone: (303) 863-7414
Fax: (303) 837-5837

More on our No Mining in Protected Forest Areas campaign here!

JATAM (Jaringan Advokasi Tambang)
Mining Advocacy Network
Jl. Mampang Prapatan II No. 30
RT 04/07 — Jakarta 12790
INDONESIA
E-mail: susan@jatam.org
www.jatam.org

Cambodia

Where have all the fish gone?

The mighty Mekong is drying up – and so is the river’s rich harvest. Vast new dams in China could be to blame. Fred Pearce reports from Cambodia 21 April 2004

Once, the world’s rivers teemed with fish. No longer. Around the globe, dams and other river engineering projects have drastically reduced most inland
fisheries. But on one mighty river, the Mekong in South-east Asia, half a century of warfare had kept the dam-builders away. As a result, even the poorest people in countries such as Cambodia can still dine regularly on
wild river fish.

But now the engineers have moved on to the river, and the effects are already being felt. Scientists blame new Chinese hydroelectric dams for the record low levels of the river this spring, for weird fluctuations in river flows, and above all for a collapse in fish catches. Is this the end for one of the world’s last great untamed rivers?

The Mekong flows for 4,500km (2,800 miles) out of the Tibetan ice fields and through the mountains of Yunan in southern China, before tumbling into the flood plains of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and entering the sea through its delta in Vietnam. Its flows are highly seasonal, with 30 times more water in the river during the monsoon than in the dry season.

So great is the disparity that, in Cambodia, the swollen river forces one of its major tributaries, the Tonle Sap, to go into reverse from June to September. This unique spectacle takes place right in front of the Royal
Palace in Phnom Penh, from where the Tonle Sap flows upstream for 200km, forming a great lake near the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat. The floodwaters then spread out, engulfing the surrounding rainforest.

The waters carry fertile sediment, fish larvae and fingerlings into the forest, which turns into a vast fecund nursery ground for fish – the source of one of the world’s biggest inland fisheries.

Here you will find the last of the Mekong catfish, the largest freshwater fish, which grows to three metres long and can weigh more than a cow. There’s also the striped snakehead, which lives among tree roots and in lakes and swamps, and is known for its ability to slither overlandbetween pools. Of greater value to millions of Cambodians is the fact that the flooded forest is also the breeding ground for the trey riel (Henicorhynchus siamensis), a sardine-like fish found in almost every net on the river.

As the forest slowly drains each autumn, the fattened fish migrate throughout the Mekong river system, where local fishermen, many living in floating villages, know almost to the hour when the fish will pass by. The peak moment of the annual flood on the Tonle Sap is precisely 10 daysbefore the January full moon.

The intensity of fishing on the Tonle Sap in particular is extraordinary. Nets stretch for miles around the edge of the flooded forest. And near Phnom Penh, small wicker “bags” lowered into the river can catch half a ton of fish in 20 minutes.

About 50 million people in the river’s lower basin – in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos – depend on it for food and income. Cambodians alone catch about two million tons of fish a year and are more dependent on wild protein than almost any nation on earth.

Yet scientists agree that, while the river is heavily fished, it is probably not overfished. The current levels of fishing are sustainable provided that the annual flood “pulse” is maintained. But that is increasingly in doubt.

In November, I toured the Tonle Sap with Eric Baran, who is investigating the Mekong for the WorldFish Centre, an international organisation that researches food security and poverty eradication. He says the river is in crisis, with dwindling flows triggering declining fish yields. The fishermen we met told the same story. Their catches had never been so poor, and they all blamed the low river-flows that began last summer. One, heading home to
his floating village with empty nets, told us that “when the water is shallow in front of the Royal Palace, there are no fish in the river”.

Nguyn Van Xia, a riverside buyer for the main fish wholesale market for Phnom Penh, said that with catches at such low levels, prices were three times higher than usual. The Mekong River Commission, an intergovernmental scientific body based in Phnom Penh, reported this year that fish catches between November and March were only half the usual levels. And, as prices
soared, the poor went hungry.

The crisis is evident everywhere along the river. For three months, low river levels have been exposing hidden sandbars, leaving ferries beached. The Mekong population of the rare Irrawaddy dolphin has been marooned in
shrinking pools.

Poor monsoon rains last year take some of the blame. But the Mekong River Commission, which China has refused to join, has little doubt that Chinese dams upstream play a role. After an emergency meeting last month, it called
on China to release critical information on the operation of its dams.

China has so far built two giant dams on the main stem of the Mekong. The first, at Manwan, was completed 11 years ago. The subsequent filling of its reservoir coincided with a period of unusually low flows downstream. The
second dam was completed last year at Dachaoshan. “There is an assumption that the two dams are the cause of the situation,” says Surachai Sasisuwan, the director of water resources at the Commission.

Some say the dams cannot be blamed because only about one-fifth of the river’s annual flow comes from China. But during the dry season, this proportion rises to between 50 and 70 per cent. And the dams provide their own unambiguous effect on day-to-day river flows.

The dams are all providing hydroelectricity to power China’s economic boom. As the turbines are switched on and off to meet hourly changes in demand, their reservoirs empty and fill and the river downstream sees fluctuations in water levels of up to a metre a day. “Since the dams began operating, river levels have gone up and down much faster,” says Hans Guttman, a scientist working for the commission.

Perhaps even more important for the future of the river’s fisheries is its load of fertile sediment. According to Matti Kummu of the Helsinki University of Technology, who is modelling the river’s hydrology, as much as half of the river’s natural annual sediment load comes from China, and an increasing amount is being captured behind the new dams. He believes that the sediment, which is carried mostly in the monsoon floods, is critical to the fertility of the Mekong’s fisheries, and especially to those in the
Tonle Sap.

There is some irony in this concern, as extreme flood levels are usually perceived to be a problem. But, even after the reservoir of the latest dam is filled, the day-to-day operation of the dams is likely to have continuing
effects. Chinese engineers forecast that it will reduce the annual flood and increase the dry-season flow. And it is this diminution of the flood pulse, the lifeblood of the river’s ecosystem, that is of most concern to fisheries
scientists. “Engineers think of flood extremes as bad news, but in Asia they are a good thing because they drive the natural ecosystem on which millions depend for their food,” Baran says. Guttman agrees. “There is a strong
relationship between flood flows and fish migration,” he says. “Flattening the flood peaks would have a severe effect on the river’s ecosystem.”

A nightmare scenario would be for the flood to subside so much that the Tonle Sap stops reversing its flow during the monsoon. That would dry up the river’s major nursery for fish.

The battle for the Mekong is gathering pace. Engineers see the Mekong is one of the world’s last great unexploited sources of hydroelectricity and a potential powerhouse for the industrialisation of South-east Asia. Two more
Chinese dams are already under construction, and at least four more are planned. The biggest, at Xiaowan, began construction in 2002. It will dwarf the others, rising 300 metres above the river and creating a reservoir 150km
long.

Chris Barlow, the manager of the commission’s fisheries research, sees this policy as very short-sighted. “Fish are permanent, if we manage them wisely,” he says. “But a dam has a short life; 30 years or less. Even when the dam is dismantled, the fishery may never come back.”

Governments, he says, are easily seduced by the prospect of abundant energy.. But fish on the Mekong are a vital source of food for millions of the region’s people and an essential source of income for its poorest citizens.
“The only alternative they have, if the fisheries disappear, is working all hours in a textiles factory in Phnom Penh,” Barlow says. Full nets or crowded factories: that is the choice.

21 April 2004 09:25

(c) 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

From: mritchie@iatp.org

S. ASIA

Bangladesh

Sundarbans going extinct

Independent surveys of the Environment Ministry, Khulna University and World Conservation Union detected a five-eight fold increase in salinity in the forest. Salinity levels have gradually increased across the southern part of the country as well, writes S Khan

Increasing water and soil salinity levels are killing rare trees and wildlife in Bangladesh?s world famous Sundarbans forests, with officials blaming the destruction on neighboring India?s dam building initiatives.

The biggest casualty are the exotic Sundari trees after which the world?s largest mangrove forests are named. The trees which are fast decaying, grow only in the Indian subcontinent.

The Sundarbans is a UN World Heritage Site located in the southeastern coastal belt, and spreads over India and Bangladesh.

Alarmingly, new studies reveal that the lack of fresh water from upstream rivers, which come from India, is destroying these trees and animals in the Sundarbans.

Independent surveys of the Environment Ministry, Khulna University and World Conservation Union detected a five-eight fold increase in salinity in the forest. Salinity levels have gradually increased across the southern part of the country as well.

Cautions Environment Minister Shajahan Siraj, “If this continues, we may have to consider relocating 15 million people from the southwestern coastal region.” He blames India for the degradation, remarking that, “The Sundarbans is becoming the casualty of dams built by India. The Farakka dam in West Bengal is responsible for the lack of sweet water in river-dominated Bangladesh.”

The increasing salinity levels will impact not just the prized forest, but also Bangladesh?s agricultural yield, avers the minister.

But for now, the damage is most visible in the Sundarbans, where the “top dying disease” syndrome, triggered by a rise in salinity, has severely affected a large portion of the Sundari trees, which comprise 72 percent of the forest.

The scientific name of the Sundari tree is Heritiera fomes.

To assess the damage, professor Dr Mohammad Abdur Rahman led a study on the Sundari trees under the Sundarbans Biodiversity Conservation Project of the Environment Ministry.

He reveals, “The top dying disease of the Sundari is considered the most serious of all tree ailments in Bangladesh.”

“Nearly 95 percent of the root surface cannot absorb water and nutrients because of salinity. It is only about five percent of the root surface that does the work, endangering the life of the plant” explains Rahman.

Apart from the problems surrounding Sundari trees, timber thefts, poaching of trees and wildlife as well as mismanagement is causing serious damage to the biodiversity of the forest. Timber, superior to teak wood, is stolen to build boats and domestic furniture. Since the plant checks soil erosion in tidal forests, its loss severely impacts the Sundar-bans. Once home to around 450 rivers and canals, several of the water bodies in the Sundarbans have now dried up. The changes have drastically affected the once abundant population of crocodiles, only 200 of whom now remain in the forest, according to a study. Fishes have also depleted rapidly in the rivers, mainly because of largescale fishing, especially for exports.

The increasing levels of salinity are killing tiger as well. According to Khasru Chowdhury, tiger tracker and Sundarbans expert, “In the last two years, at least three Bengal tigers died of liver cirrhosis caused due to salinity.”

As for the top dying disease, it was first discovered in 14 of the forest?s 55 zones in 1985. Ten years later, it had spread to 27 such pockets and late last year, 42 of the forest?s compartments were host to infected trees.

A study says increased salinity affects the availability and uptake of soil nutrients by plants, triggering the disease.

Observes Dr Ainun Nishat, resident representative of the World Conservation Union and a leading water expert, “If we cannot stop this change, the Sundarbans will no longer have Sundari trees.”

Manmade structures on Indian rivers that enter Bangladesh have gradually reduced water in this region, officials here claim. High levels of sedimentation are clogging canals that have for three decades been the veins of the forest, spread over 5,770 sq kilometers of land and over 1,700 sq kilometers of waterways in Bangladesh.

One study, conducted between 2001 and 2003, also found a shortfall of other common soil nutrients, leading to the spread of fungus and a variety of insects among the trees. The Sundarbans is host to 32 species of mammals, 35 types of serpents, eight amphibian varieties and 300 species of birds.

Source: The News Today, March 25, 2004

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======

Sundari vanishing fast

Shakhawat Hossain Back from the Sunderbans

With the Sundari trees vanishing fast due to the outbreak of the top dying disease, the bio-diversity and the ecology of the Sunderbans, the largest mangrove forest on the earth, is now critically endangered mainly owing to the ever-increasing soil and water salinity.

The soil and water salinity of the Sunderbans, the only mangrove forest known as the sanctuary of the world famous Royal Bengal Tigers, is increasing at an alarming rate and it has already reached at its peak just because of the Farakka Barrage built by neighboring India in the 1960s.

As a result, the Sundari (Heritiera), the main species and the most common tree in the Sunderbans, which spreads into Bangladesh and Indian state of West Bengal, is gradually being vanished, putting the flora and fauna of the forest in absolute peril.

At least 5 to 6 per cent of the total Sundari tress across the Sunderbans is now suffering from the top dying disease and around 50 per cent of the total Sundari trees has already been affected in the most affected areas of high salinity of soil and water, said Prof. Dr. Mohammad Abdur Rahman, Director of Centre for Integrated Studies on the Sundarbans, Khulna University.

Out of the 57 compartments, 42 compartments have already been affected by the top dying disease and the severely affected compartments are 37, 33, 40, 19, 36, 18, 45, 34, 22, 8, 20, 5, 31, 38, 25, 29, 32, 13, 26, 43, 28, 27,17, 44, 10, 30, 24, 4, 9, 16, 35, 2,3, 14, 39, 1, 11, 21, 6,7,12 and 50.

Talking to The News Today on board during a trip to the Sunderbans, Dr. Abdur Rahman categorically said that soil salinity plays a vital role and governs the distribution of Sundari in the Sunderbans. He was referring to his recent study on top dying disease, which was accepted by the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

Regarding the causes of the top dying disease, he explained that burial of pneumatophores, production of reduced number of pneumataphores and lenticels on the pneumatophores create condition of reduced soil aeration affecting metabolism in the root system. This is considered as the primary causes of top dying of Sundari in the Sunderbans, he added.

Deficiencies of micronutrients and the presence of higher level of calcium are also associated with top dying of Sundari. Besides, greater opening in the canopy, and Oran infestation are also associated with severity of top dying of Sundari, said Dr. Mohammad Abdur Rahman.

He also said, salinity, soil aeration depletion and micronutrient nutrient deficiency are altogether responsible for the degradation of the Sundari trees.

He also recommended to the government to remove the Sundari trees affected with top tying disease saying that removal of such trees is necessary to reduce further build-up of top dying and progressive deterioration of health of the Sunderbans.

In this regard, he also said that top dying Sundari trees suffer from further degradation induced by decaying fungi and insects and cause degradation of 42.18 per cent of the trees, which is a heavy economic loss.

Top dying Sundari trees with 50 per cent or more canopy damage should only be included for salvage felling. All dead and decaying trees should be removed from the forest ground in a bid to reduce the change for build up of wood decay fungi and, finally, thus reduce the extend of degradation owing to the top dying disease, he also opined.

The Sunderbans and its Sundari trees along with other flora and fauna would be in a disastrous situation, if the flow of sweet water in and around the largest mangrove forest is not increased to a maximum level very soon, said Dr. Rahman warning that the bio-diversity and the ecology of the entire country would be critically endangered if neighboring India implements its river linking project in the upper stream.

Source: The News Today, March 06, 2004

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From: Zakir Kibria

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Poaching: A threat to Bengal tigers

Poaching and illegal logging have decimated the Royal Bengal Tigers and destroyed their habitats in the past few years, prompting them to attack humans and forage for food in villages, write S Khan and Alastir Lawson

The first-ever census of Royal Bengal Tigers at the world?s largest mangrove forests, the Sundarbans, reveals that this Bangladesh sanctuary boasts of around 500 of them, double the number of big cats found anywhere else.

The Sundarbans, declared a World Natural Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is now facing a problem of population pressure, from both tigers and human beings.

With over six million people living in these forests ? 3 million in Bangladesh and 3.5 million in India ? the Sundarbans is experiencing economic exploitation that threatens to destroy its biodiversity.

Poaching and illegal logging have decimated the Royal Bengal Tigers and destroyed their habitats in the past few years, prompting them to attack humans and forage for food in villages.

Also, the highly saline river water has damaged the liver of many animals. Nine tigers died last year due to high levels of salinity caused by decreasing water flow from neighboring upstream India.

Last month, 32 teams of surveyors scoured the wildlife and snake-infested dense jungles, in search of pug marks. They collected a record 1,546 tiger pug marks and spotted seven of the felines.

According to Forest and Environment Minister, Shajahan Siraj, who inaugurated the census, “These pug marks will be analyzed by a computer program to determine the actual number of tigers scientifically.”

Last week, while disclosing the primary findings of the survey, partly financed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Siraj claimed, “From our experience, we can now say the number of tigers in the Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans alone will be close to 500.” Bangladesh?s area of the Sundarbans extends across 5,770 square kilometers of land and 1,700 sq km of waterways.

A survey in January in the Indian part of the Sundarbans, which extends over 4,330 sq km of land and 1,700 sq km of waterways, spotted over 1,400 pug- marks. Six officials from the Indian Forest Department visited Bangladesh in February to share their experiences.

Analyzes tiger tracker Khasru Chowdhury, who has been working in the Sundarbans from 1974, “The signs are interesting. Even a conservative estimate on the number of tigers in the Sundarbans puts the forest?s status at a much higher position than any other forest in the world.”

He adds, “The closest competitor is the forest in Sumatra (Indonesia) that has about 250 tigers.” Chowdhury thinks the Bangladesh part of the forests can ideally accommodate just 200 tigers, food and territory wise.

And, what about the margin for error?

Explains M. Aminul Islam, biodiversity expert of the UNDP, “As we are using the same software in India and Bangladesh, there is no chance of counting the same tiger twice.

The number of tigers will help us formulate an action plan to save the Sundarbans.”

Both countries will formally announce their findings in July. Bangladesh is collaborating with India in saving the heritage of the Sundarbans, 40 percent of which is located in India?s West Bengal.

“This forest is changing due to various reasons and we need to monitor it and understand it properly to keep it alive,” notes Anisuzzaman Khan, chief of the biodiversity unit of The World Conservation Union.

In a bid to save the endangered Sundarbans, the Bangladesh government has also taken up a US $70 million biodiversity protection project to develop tourism and set up eco-huts here.

Interestingly, in 1969, British wildlife expert Guy Mountford visited the Sundarbans to prepare a list of local wildlife. He was skeptical about the number of tigers ? more than 300 ? estimated by forest officials, putting the figure between 50 and 100 instead.

Earlier, the United Nations hosted a one-day conference on protecting one of the world?s largest mangrove forests, the Sundarbans, which spans India and Bangladesh.

The conference in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, discussed ways in which the two countries can cooperate to preserve the Sundarbans, which is home to a wide range of wildlife, including Royal Bengal tigers, crocodiles and dolphins. The Bangladeshi Government has warned that the environmental threat to the forest is becoming increasingly grave.

The idea behind this conference was that India and Bangladesh could, for the first time, work together to conserve the Sundarbans, which is one of the last great coastal wetlands in the world. The region today includes two heritage sites, one in Bangladesh and one in India.

The Bangladeshi Environment Secretary says that failure to work together will have disastrous consequences for one of the most famous Sundarbans residents. “The Royal Bengal tiger is not only a symbol, ” he said.

“It is very close to our hearts and the tragedy is that this magnificent specimen has been slowly dying off,” he said. Both Bangladesh and India agreed that the Sundarbans was an environmental Taj Mahal. They accept that the forest is threatened by pollution and human encroachment.

The two countries had carried out extensive research on either side of the border but had so far never shared their findings. India and Bangladesh will work together in a biodiversity project in the Sunderbans mangrove forest.

This is part of the world?s largest delta formed from sediments deposited by several major rivers including the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. Bengal tigers are an endangered species and the project might help them survive in their home habitat.

There are more than 250 Royal Bengal tigers in the Indian side of Sundarbans. The project includes studying the behaviour of Bengal tigers and to find out why some of them become man-eaters. Of the 9,000 sq.kms of the Sunderbans forest, nearly 4,200 sq.kms fall within India and the rest in Bangladesh.

The Sundarban Tiger Project Director in India, Pradip Vyas, says that UNESCO and the UN Foundation will pay $125,000 for the preparation of this project. A report on the feasibility of the project has to be ready by April next year. Forest officials of the two countries will meet up to discuss how the project will be implemented.

Mr Vyas says the study of breeding behaviour and feeding habits of Royal Bengal tigers forms part of the project. More than 30 people have been killed by tigers during the last two years on the Indian side of the Sundarbans. There are man-eaters on the Bangladeshi side too. Mr Vyas said some harmful effluents enter the Sunderbans from nearby areas which may be responsible for polluting the water and this could be affecting tiger behaviour.

He says whether the presence of saline water in the Sundarbans affects the behaviour of the tigers is also being studied. Mr Vyas says the tigers are fond of swimming across the area?s many streams and channels to different islands within the forest. Officials are also trying to find out whether saline water may be responsible for the loss of certain types of trees in the area. The project also includes educating the local people in order to minimise poaching.

Officials say poachers take the help of local villagers in hunting the tigers. The forests are critically important for a large number of species including the endangered tigers.

The project will provide alternate employment opportunities for more than three million people who live on 53 islands in the Sunderbans area.

Most of these people depend on fishing for their livelihood. The Sundarbans authorities in India say fishing is proving difficult to sustain because of falling water levels. Experts say the Sundarbans area is important for conservation since it is large enough to maintain a self-sustainable tiger population. The Sundarbans forests are well-known for tigers, spotted deer, wild boars and monitor lizards.

The mangrove forests also provide the main nursery for shrimps along the coast of eastern India and Bangladesh. And its creeks are the spawning ground for many fish.

ñOneWorld feature/BBC

Source: The News Today, March 20, 2004

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From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

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The Sundarbans: the new episode
Thu Hong

The wonder of nature: Feeling too small in front of an immense sea? Feeling fearful and adventurous roaming around in a vast forest? Finding relaxed and revitalised hearing a songbird? Mind cool down in the morning-broken fog? Heart-robbed by the marvelous sunset? You will have all that feeling and emotion once coming to the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world which stretches along both sides of the border, Indian state of West Bengal and southwestern Bangladesh.

The Sundarbans extends over an area of 6,017 square kilometers, of which 3,600 square kilometers lie in West Bengal and 2,417 square kilometers in Bangladesh, counting more than half of the reserved forest of the country. Bangladesh owns about two-thirds of the forest that makes about 45 per cent of the country?s total productive forest area. In Bangladesh, the forest is bound by the Bhaleswari river in the east, the Bay of Bengal to the south, Khulna division to the north, and the Raimangal and Haringhata rivers to the west. Administered by the Forest Department, Ministry of Environment and Forest, the area is divided into four forest ranges, namely Chandpai, Sarankhola, Khulna and Burigoalini.

The Sundarbans is a real attraction with pristine environment, divine nature and unusual scenery of impenetrable jungle forests and maze of rivers. About one-third of the total area of this forest is covered in water with many turns and open-ups. Wherever you are, you will be amazed by its fauna and flora, going deep in the forest or cruising over the network of estuaries, channels, creeks, and large tidal rivers, all discharging into the Bay of Bengal. Look up the sky, you may see the seagull or goose; look up the tree in an island, you may catch the sight of small minivet bird. Walk along the riverbanks or in a clearing, there are monkeys and spotted deer which is one of important wild animals in the Sundarbans. The spotted deer or Chital is reputed to be the most beautiful deer in the world and they have favoured the swamp forests of the Sundarbans as their habitat. There are an estimated 30,000 spotted deer. Travelling along the river, you may see the crocodile.

There is a popular belief that the Sundarbans derived its name from the Sundari (Heritiera foams) trees, a major component of the forest. Sundari trees that grow here to about 25m in height. These trees are very straight, have tiny branches and keep well in water. They become rock hard when submerged for a long time and are thus very suitable for building with. Sundaris are mainly used as shipbuilding materials, electric poles, railway sleepers and house building materials.

The Sundarbans has about 283 species of fish, 229 species of crustaceans and 211 species of mollusks. There are reportedly 226 species of birds, 32 species of mammals, 425 species of wild animals and 334 species of trees and plants. The most important wild animal in this vital coastal wetland is the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger.

Save the fame

The Royal Bengal Tiger is the pride of Bangladesh. It was aptly named by the British as it has been known to grow to a body length of more than 2m, has extraordinary strength and agility, and is considered to be the most majestic of tigers. It has a life span of 16 years and prey on deer, boars and fish stranded on the riverbeds at low tide.

In 2000, the Government of Bangladesh set aside three specific areas as tiger reserves. But there have been reports of eco-devastation and animal killing, especially the illegal poaching of tigers and deer. In view of surreptitious killing of tigers there was a concern that the number of Royal Bengal tigers was dwindling. Mindless devastation of areas within and on the coastline of the Sundarbans further reinforced this fear. According to one official in the Forest Department, of 8 species of tiger, 3 are extinct. Moreover, referring to the number of this wild animal, different figures are given out. The Department of Forest of Bangladesh said the estimate was 450. The local people, however, estimated 600 tigers are there in the Sundarbans. There has never been any concrete step and proper project to thoroughly count the tiger population through a scientific census, which is required for the management of the forest?s wild animals. Against such scenario, a tiger census is essential.

And first joint India-Bangladesh tiger census was launched recently, served as a timely action. The Minister for Environment and Forest, Shahjahan Siraj, formerly inaugurated the census at a ceremony at Chandpai range of the Sundarbans on February 26. This tiger census is a 50,000-USD project funded by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as part of the “Bio-diversity Strategy Action Plan”. There is a controlling centre in Khulna, plus medical group and moderating group mobile in the forests and 32 field groups searching tigers? paw prints or “pugmarks”. From the collected prints, scientists can ascertain the age, weight and gender of individual animals, and estimate their numbers. The pugmark method involves collecting tiger?s paw print by making plaster impression during low tide of prints left in the mangrove. The group finishes each plaster by filling a form denoting date, place, position, settling of the pugmarks, as well as some administrative numbers. Finally the experts analyse the marks on the computer once the prints are scanned in. Roughly 500 tiger paw prints were collected after the seven-day census.

To conduct the census, officials from the Indian Forest Department came to Bangladesh to share with their counterparts their experiences from the census already completed in the Indian part of the Sundarbans.

“A full report detailing the state of the Royal Bengal tiger in the Sundarbans would be ready by July,” said Dr. M. Aminul Islam, Sustainable Development Advisor of the UNDP?s local mission.

More to concern and conserve

For the time being, there is not only the danger of losing tiger but there are several more things to concern as well. The Sundarbans eco-system is deteriorating due to population pressures and the weak enforcement of existing regulations. Major threats in the sanctuaries are the armed dacoits who work in collusion with the illegal wood-cutters, pirates, poachers, and plunderers looting the scarce resources of the forest.

The forest guards are equipped with inadequate arms, logistics and manpower. Md. Islam Mia, a boatman-cum-forest guard in Sarankhola range, has only a gun to do his task of being the watchdog of tree cutting and tiger catching. The situation in Chandpai range is the same as Md. Safiqul Islam, who works at Harbaria patrol post, is equipped with 303 series of gunfire dated 1978. “Some of my colleagues? shooters do not even work anymore,” said Md. Safiqul Islam. He alongside with other seven guards cover two compartments (equal to 335 square kilometers) of the forest and all they got is 5 shooters. Not only the absence of sufficient training, equipment and manpower, low salary of the forest guards is another reason for weak protection of the forest. The forest guards earn Tk. 3,000 to Tk.4,000 while they may be offered an amount of money double or three times more than that amount to turn blind eyes on cutting Sundari trees.

Another prevailing problem in the forest is salinity intrusion causing top-dying of Sundari trees. As the forest areas are inundated by tidal water the salinity of the river water increases. And ingress of salinity into Sundarbans soil continues unabated since India started withdrawing waters of the Ganges river affecting world?s biggest mangrove forest.

According to Dr. M. Abdur Rahman of Khulna University, the Sundarbans suffered about 42 per cent wood loss due to top-dying and no solution to this problem has yet been found.

Amid such concerning problems, the Indo-Bangladesh joint tiger census marks its dramatic step among the first activities between the two countries under a cross-border initiative aimed at preserving the bio-diversity of the boundless beautiful forest. “We believe that conservation of the bio-diversity in the Sundarbans must be conducted following the two-country approach and it is not possible without a joint effort. The forest a political boundary, but the animals do not abide that boundary,” said UNDP?s Sustainable Development Advisor M. Aminul Islam.

As the Sundarbans is a transboundary ecosystem, the census is beyond national level, bringing two nations together in order to share scientific information, knowledge and techniques towards joint forest management with a view to preserving their single ecosystem. An encouraging move of the initiative is the fact that the forest officials of both the countries have agreed to conduct regular tiger census once in every two years, a beginning of mutual cooperation between the two neighbours in the field of bio-diversity conservation in the region.

Thu Hong is a VFEJ (Vietnam Forum of Environmental Journalists) Fellow working with the FEJB (Forum of Environmental Journalists of Bangladesh) under South-South Exchange Programme of Asia-Pacific Forum of Environmental Journalists (APFEJ).

Source: Weekly Holiday, March 19, 2004

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From: Zakir Kibria

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ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER AVERTED BY HALTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF CLUSTER VILLAGE FOR THE LANDLESS ON ACCRETED LAND (CHAR) IN THE SUNDARBAN:
DEMAND FOR RE-EXCAVATION OF BHOLA RIVER DISREGARDED

Babul Sardar, Bagerhat:
In total disregard of the Forest and Environmental laws of the country, establishment of a human habitat in the “Morabholar Char? at the eastern end of the Sundarban has commenced in the name of rehabilitating the
homeless. The Bhola river is considered as a protective barrier for the Sundarban on its eastern side. Instead of re-excavating the silted up river, the initiative to build a Cluster Village has attracted instant reaction from environmental activists.

According to them, this disastrous step will lead to gradual occupation of forest land, extensive illegal extraction of forest resources and destruction of endangered species, causing irreversible damage to the world famous mangrove forest and disastrous environmental consequences. Work has recently started on establishing a Cluster Village for homeless, uprooted people on about 30 acres (12 hectares) of land on the bed of the silted up river Bhola near the Dhansagar Forest Station under the Chandpai Range of the East Sundarban Division.

It is learnt that, in addition to cash grant from the “Adarsha Gram? project, 400 metric tonnes of
rice/wheat have been allocated for the project. The local administration has declared it as Khas (state-owned) land and recommended the project. What is surprising is that on March 4, 2004, the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, while on a tour of the area, hadrecommended that such a village should not be established at the site adjacent to the forest. Moreover, in accordance with the Forest and Environment Conservation Ordinance (Ordinance No. PRM 4/7/87/99/263), establishment of a Cluster Village type of permanent structure is totally prohibited within
a radius of 10 km from the Sundarban perimetre.

Moreover, Bhola river is part and parcel of the protected Sundarban Reserved Forest. As such, it is necessary to announce the area as “De-reserved? before establishing human habitation on the Bhola riverbed. But concerned sources say that the process of building a Cluster Village hasstarted without observing any of the formalities.
On the other hand, the project is seen as the result of selfish motive of some vested interests who want to cover up their evil designs under the cover of rehabilitating homeless and uprooted families. Concerned sources
gave the opinion that even if a permanent habitat is constructed in the bed of this dead river close to the Bay of Bengal, it is likely to be
washed away by any tidal wave accompanying the next cyclone.

Being close to the forest, both illegal entry into the forest and attacks by foraging tigers are likely to increase. Over-extraction of forest resources and illegal poaching of protected fauna will increase, which will be against
the interests of the on-going Sundarban Bio-diversity Conservation Project. Moreover, if the village is established on the silted up riverbed, it is likely to signal a “Gold Rush? to occupy the rest of the riverbed, which may also motivate a “Rush? to occupy the Sundarban.

According to Mr. Ali Kabir Haider, Conservator of Forests, Khulna region (Both East and West Sundarban Divisions), re-excavation of Bhola river is absolutely necessary for protection of the Sundarban. He said that a project for the re-excavation of the river is already in processing stage.
Since the very inception of the Sundarban Reserved Forest, the rivers Bhola, Khorma, Chechengaon and other rivers, canals and estuaries bordering the Sundarban are part of the Sundarban itself, while at the same time, a protective barrier for the forest, he said. The Conservator
of Forest stated that according to existing laws, construction of any permanent structure in this area is prohibited.

Mr. Md. Tarikul Islam, Divisional Forest Officer, Sundarban East Division said that he had repeatedly written to the concerned authorities against this kind of activity. Environmental activists are also angry at this kind of disregard for the laws of the country. While hundreds of millions are being spent for conserving the forest and its bio-diversity, such a disregard for the protection of the forest on government initiative will
endanger our very existence, they say.

The Sundarban is not merely a protective barrier for the Southern coastal region, it is also a World Heritage Site. Nobody has the right to occupy any portion of it. They demanded that instead of implementing a project
that will cause irreversible damage to the forest and the environment, they called for immediate re-excavation of Bhola river.

The Deputy Commissioner of Bagerhat, Mr. Pious Costa is reported to have said that the silted up riverbed has been declared as Khas (State-owned) land on the basis of recommendation by the local Union Parishad. But, he
said, that on receipt of a letter from the Divisional Forest Officer, Sundarban East Division some 3-4 days ago, he said that a survey will be conducted to determine whether the area belongs to the forest or not. On being asked as to why such a project has been started in a sensitive area
without such a survey, he said that it may be because of delay in receiving a timely letter from the Forest Department.

However, the Divisional Forest Officer, East Sundarban Division said that several letters were sent during the recent months asking the authorities not to implement such a project at the site.

Ashraf-ul-Alam Tutu, Coordinator,CDP,Khulna,and
Coordinator, SBCP Watch Group.

From: cdp@khulna.bangla.net

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Mangrove grabbing stopped for now
The Daily Star, April 25, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Human settlement on the upriver sandy bed of Morabhola in east Sundarban came to a stop on Sunday, three days after an order had been issued by Bagerhat deputy commissioner Pius Costa.
A local union parishad chairman and his cohorts captured 30 acres of the land that came under the Dhan Sagar Station of Chandpur range of the mangrove forest. The sources said a Bagherhat first class magistrate Saidur Rahman went to the spot on Sunday and stopped the habitation construction work.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

EAST ASIA

China

The impact of shrimp farming on China Mangroves and their peripheral marsh
–The Mangrove Project of Greenwild Association of Xiamen University Reporter: Liu Yi

Before making an analysis, I have to give a general explanation. First of all, in recent years, the most pressing problem about Mangroves in China is not building dykes for cultivating (including shrimp farming), but the influence of urbanization (including building roads, harbors, and so on). In 1980s,building dykes for cultivating was in full wing. Secondly, I haven’t got comprehensive data covering all mangroves in China. Therefore, I make a preliminary analysis based on the data I’ve got. Also, that is why I devote myself to building up a national “Publicity and Protection network” all over China.

Harmfulness I: Occupancy and destructive damage.

Hainan Province
In mangrove sanctuary of Dongzhai Harbor and peripheral areas, mangroves are distributed mainly over Meilan Town.
By September 2002, the acreage under shrimp farming has reached 5850 acres, including 4300 acres lowland dykes, 1200 acres highland dykes, and 350 acres highland dykes changed from lowland dykes which were mainly remodeled before 1998. While a large number of farmland were transformed into shrimp dykes, a proportion of mangrove swamp were faced the same fate.
Please follow the two pieces of news below:
_ On 25th, February, 2003, at Fangyuan village, near the Dongzhai Harbor sanctuary, journalists saw villagers burning the Acrostichum aureurm (a kind of mangroves), pumping up the water, preparing for shrimp farming. And villagers said to the journalists, “The land here belongs to us, and we’re preparing to cultivate shrimps.” In 1997, the local bureau of forestry had prevented the collective behavior of damaging mangrove forests for cultivating shrimps. However, such damaging phenomena resumed again last year,
_ On 26th, February, 2003, at the Dongzhai Harbor mangrove scenery area, journalists discovered a 5 acres shrimp dyke at about 2 meters away from the river course at the west entrance, which was newly used. And the fallen mangrove had been withered and yellow. Moreover, the working house was built in the scenery area.
In July, 2003, I personally saw lots of shrimp dykes which were newly used or being built, during the course of going on a scientific investigation with my professors in Dongzhai Harbor mangrove sanctuary.
There used to be more than 70 acres mangroves at Guangchun Town, in Zhanzhou City of Hainan Province. However, in recent years, with unfolding a vigorous mass campaign for cultivating shrimps, the mangroves have been completely destroyed.

Guangxi Province
From October, 1999 to April, 2000, three vicious events, which caused nearly 50,000 mangroves and more than 1400 acres mangrove marsh damaged, occurred in east coast of Xiakou Town of Hepu county in Guangxi province.
On 8th, May, 2000, journalists received tip-off calls, which reported that 400 acres mangroves had been cut down at Fulu village of Xiakou town, in Hepu county of Guangxi province.When journalists arrived at Fulu village, on 10th, May, they found mangrove were cut down in the thick mangrove woods near the coast. Instead, there were six shrimp dykes, covering about 100 acres, and two working cranes.

Fujian Province (project investigation from December, 2001 to March, 2002)
At Longhai Fugong, in Zhangzhou, building dykes for cultivating began in 1994, which have removed more than 60 acres mangroves.
There is a more than 900 acres mangrove forest in Longhai Zini, in Zhangzhou city, which was supposed to be used for raising shrimps and had been invested more than RMB 2,000,000. Thanks to objects from public, the damaging project was cancelled.
In December, 2001, we went on an investigation on Yunxiao mangrove sanctuary in Zhangzhou city. Insiders told us that before the stretches of shrimp dykes were built, there was a mangrove woods. And now, we can still distinguish the remains of mangroves on the earth of the enclosed dykes. During investigating, we saw a lot of dykes being build at many places and pull-out mangroves lying on the surrounding ground.

Harmfulness II: Water Pollution
Shrimp dykes are always built at the coast in order to get water conveniently. In an investigation in Tashi village in Dongzhai Harbor of Hainan province, a villager said, “Mangroves shouldn’t be cut down. Instead, we should build shrimp dykes in mangroves woods so that shrimp dykes can receive protection from the mangroves.” At Longhai Fugong, in Zhangzhou city, some villagers build shrimp dykes on the swamp outside the dams and spontaneously plant mangroves around shrimp dykes. Although these villagers have been aware of mangroves’ protection function for dams, they haven’t realized the harmfulness of the waste water from shrimp farming. During the course of investigating of Dongzhai Harbor mangroves, we had a understanding of how the local villagers’ thought (details in the blank below).

Fish-men represented that a relatively centralized source of pollution, is the waste water discharged from the shrimp dykes, which caused a declining of fish resources. Shrimp farmers use a plenty of disinfectant, and discharge the poisonous substances into the ditches around mangrove without any treatment. Besides, waste water from feed, which is discharged directly into the mangrove woods, causes the water in the woods over-oxidized. As for the shrimp farmers, the behaviors above didn’t harm their profits, so they didn’t mention them at all in the investigation, As for fish-men, such behaviors have a lot to do with their own benefits, so they complained a lot. However, to those silent mangrove marshy ecosystem, the only thing it can do is to bear, and then, falls apart for over-contaminated at last.
Harmfulness III: Ecological Invading
At Dongzhai Harbor sanctuary, in Hainan, another worrying problem is that the young shrimps’ going into the river course will cause foreign species’ invading.

Sum-up
To sum up, we’ve known that during 1998 to 2004, shrimp farming has caused more than 2000 acres mangrove woods and relevant marshy land occupied. Nevertheless, there are still a large area damaged what we aren’t able to see? Besides, shrimp farming brings long-term harmful impacts on mangrove area; including poisoning and over oxidizing water and potential ecological invading.

From Liu Yi
LATIN AMERICA
Ecuador

The People Want To Manage Their Own Mangroves

The local coastal communities along the mangrove coast of Esmeraldas, Ecuador are demanding that they be allowed to manage their mangrove forests as outlined in the Law for the Defense of the Mangrove. Over 300 representatives of these communities converged on the capitol of Quito and joined the Coordinadora Nacional para la Defensa del Ecosistema Manglar del Ecuador (National Coordinador for the Defense of the Mangrove Ecosystem of Ecuador demanded that the National Congress finally approve this important legislation which has been held up for too many years.

The protest delegation wants to also see the establishment of a Administrative Board that includes representatives from the local communities to help develop management and conservation policies that can be more effectively implemented and that truly involve and represent the various user groups. Community and NGO representatives came from the States of Esmeraldas, El Oro and Guayas.

ELCOMERCIO.COM

From: “Coordinadora Nacional para la Defensa del Manglar”
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Costa Rica

COSTA RICA – Wetlands Under Threat
Fires and construction of drainage channels
endanger protected lagoons.

The lagoons of the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, in northern Costa Rica, are usually populated in March with birds like the jabiru, the pink spoonbill and the wood stork. Nevertheless, the drainage channels that farmers in the area bordering the refuge have been constructing over the last seven years have been converted into veins of death that are quickly drying up this wetland of international importance protected since 1991 by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

click here

From: Mike Shanahan mikeshanahan@yahoo.com

THE CARIBBEAN

Article from the Antigua Sun:

After 50 years, SDC slated to enhance Maiden Island

April 20 2004 by Desmond V. Nicholson
Maiden Island is one of the many islands that
make up the North Sound group of small islands off the north coast of Antigua. It is located just south of Long Island, on which the Jumby Bay resort has been created.
Maiden Island is a long narrow island about 1″? of a mile long by about “? of a mile wide at one point.

During World War II, a deep channel was dredged along the southwest side of Maiden Island to allow ships to pass to Crabbs peninsula, where a naval base was built.
Unfortunately, the island’s natural environment was destroyed when the coarse shell and sand dredgings were dumped on it. Further, the reef that had since grown was destroyed by Hurricane Luis in 1995.

Now, 50 years later, a few buildings and a
general enhancement of the island are slated by the Stanford Development Company (SDC). The company has removed all the dredged sand and coarse shell and will recover the shoreline with natural beach sand. A breakwater artificial reef has been created and was specifically engineered to lower the wave energy in the beach area, so that the new natural sand will remain stable. Stable sand means clearer water, which is healthier for the coral.

SDC has created the world’s largest artificial
fringing breakwater reef system off Maiden
Island, from over 1,000 designed reef modules. Constructed in just two months and planted with live corals during the same period, this reef system is an integral part of the development plan for the island. The coral reef breakwater was created by using
specially designed Reef Balls”? which are
prefabricated concrete modules designed to mimic natural reefs.

These round-reef modules are hollow inside, with several openings for the access of marine life and they are constructed with built-in adapters for planting live corals. The Reef Ball Foundation of Florida, with whom SDC is co-ordinating, has developed a system of reproducing live corals and for this project, the foundation’s expert volunteers created over 5,000 new coral colonies that were permanently attached to the Reef Balls to form a natural reef.

During the project, the Reef Ball Foundation
identified other corals in Antigua that were
imperiled by impending construction operations and was able to rescue an additional 17.5 tons of adult coral colonies, which were individually stabilised on the Reef Balls and saved.

To achieve the remarkable feat of restoring a
living reef system, the Antigua Department of
Fisheries and the SDC enlisted the help of over two dozen volunteers from the St. John’s Chapter of the Antigua Optimist Club. Over 500 sea urchins (Echinometra lucunter) were
added to the reef to act as “janitors’ to keep the corals free from algal overgrowth. Scientifically-designed larval lobster settlement substrates were added to the reef to enhance survivability of the spiny lobster
(Panulirus argus), an important species in Antigua.
Many lobsters have already been observed on the newlycreated reef. The volunteer teams documented 73 fish species, 71 invertebrate species, 30 coral species and 26 algal species (plus a turtle) now on the reef.

Every day, the species lists continue to grow.
Human needs were not forgotten in the
construction of the reef. SDC and the Reef Ball
Foundation created hundreds of yards of
snorkeling and diving trails. These trails provide visitors with a complete tour of the reef to see the wondrous and abundant reef life now present. The trails are marked by Reef Balls that have a 12 x 12 inch square marking to make navigation easy, or for
possible future educational signs.

The Reef Ball Foundation has asked divers to observe a voluntary “look, but don”t take
policy” until the Fisheries Department has time to pass a formal rule. There are plans to add mooring buoys so that anchor drops do not damage the new reef.

Seagrass beds and mangrove tree roots are
integrated components of a coral reef system.
They serve as nurseries for many animals that live their adult lives on the reef. One of the reasons Reef Balls were selected for this project is that the alternative would have
>> been an armor stone breakwater that would have impacted thousands of square feet of seagrass beds.

At the suggestion of the Antigua Department of Fisheries, the Reef Balls were chosen and
designed with special open bottoms to allow sea grasses to flourish around and under the Reef Balls so that the conch (Strombus gigas) habitat was preserved. In the areas on the lee or southwest side of Maiden Island, where the sea grass beds are being protected, a team with the SDC has conducted a Mangrove Habitat Restoration Project to further complete the system.

Over 7,000 Red Mangroves have been imported into Antigua from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The importing process included treating the Red Mangroves with both fungicide and insecticide. Over time, these mangroves will develop into a vast mangrove ecosystem for Antigua and will unction together with the Reef Ball coral reefs to complete the marine ecosystem restoration  on
Maiden Island.

The newly created mangrove habitat will enrich the life on the reefs with an abundant supply of fish, lobster and a great variety of marine life. As an added bonus, the mangroves will serve as natural filters to maintain excellent water quality for the reefs near Maiden Island.

SDC’s attention to the complete ecosystem, rather than just individual components, has been one of the key aims of the overall Maiden Island project. This project is the world’s largest total marine ecosystem restoration that includes joint coral reef and mangrove habitat restoration. Since coral reefs and mangrove habitats interac significantly from a biological perspective, the combination of these restoration techniques will yield a greater environmental benefit than either project done alone.

Antigua can be grateful and proud that the SDC has chosen to create this restoration on its shores.

From mangrove@candw.ky

NORTH AMERICA
USA

From: Mageswari Sangaralingam

New American NGO set up to promote aquaculture in developing countries

A new non-governmental organisation (NGO) has been established in United States aimed towards supporting aquaculture development in developing countries as a means to alleviate poverty.

The group, Aquaculture without Frontiers (AwF), which was originally proposed during the annual meeting of the World Aquaculture Society in 2003, has already received a vast amount of su! pport from the sector, including volunteer services and donations, reports Aquafeed.

The group intends to use a combination of education and financial assistance in order to promote small-scale aquaculture in developing countries in the hope that this will lead to economic development.

Source: FIS/MP

From: Mageswari Sangaralingam
magesling@hotmail.com

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WHITE SPOT DISEASE IN USA Shrimp Farm
Source: OIE Disease Information. 23 April 2004. Vol. 17 – No. 17

Emergency report

Information received on 20 April 2004 from Dr Peter Fernandez, Associate Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Washington, DC:

Date of the report: 15 April 2004.

Nature of diagnosis: clinical, post-mortem and laboratory.

Date of initial detection of animal health incident: 14 April 2004.
Estimated date of primary infection: 1 April 2004.

Outbreaks:
Location – State of Hawaii, Island of Kaua’i
No. of outbreaks – 1

Description of affected population: commercial shrimp grower operation.

Total number of animals in the outbreak:
species – crustacea
susceptible – 16,000,000
cases – 6,800,000
deaths – 5,600,000
destroyed – 1,200,000
slaughtered – 0

Diagnosis:
A. Laboratory where diagnosis was made: University of Arizona.
B. Diagnostic tests used: histological examination. PCR(1) to follow.
Source of agent / origin of infection: unknown. Epidemiological
investigations are in progress.
Control measures: quarantine and movement control inside the country.
(1) PCR: polymerase chain reaction

From: mskladany@iatp.org

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The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy

click here

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy created by Congress in 2000 and appointed by President Bush (news - web sites), concluded that human actions have seriously jeopardized the health of the oceans, from huge and toxic algae blooms to depletion of fish stocks. Only a major overhaul of federal policy could reverse the trend, the commission found in its 413-page report.

While the report focused primarily on oceans, the commission also addressed the Great Lakes and urged steps to curb problems caused by pollution and invasive species such as the zebra mussel.

“If our report is adopted, the payoff will be great,” said retired Adm. James Watkins, committee chairman. “It’s now obvious that ocean resources are not limitless, nor are ocean waters capable of continual self-cleansing. The point is this: It’s up to us to find ways to use and enjoy the oceans in a sustainable way.”

To attack the problems, the commission said the federal government must work to streamline ocean management, which is spread among “a confusing array of agencies at the federal, state and local levels.”

Needed: Wider view

The report also called for a fundamental change in how the government addresses ocean problems, urging “ecosystem-based management,” which focuses on entire regions, rather than the current policy of addressing each species or habitat in isolation.

The commission recommended creation of a National Ocean Council, to be chaired by an assistant to the president, and for doubling the amount of federal funding for ocean research.

The report was the government’s first comprehensive look at ocean policy since the Stratton Commission issued Our Nation and the Sea more than 30 years ago.

Numbers adding up

Since then, “more than 37 million people, 19 million homes and countless businesses have been added to coastal areas,” the report said, noting an increase in the nation’s use of offshore oil and gas, marine transportation and coastal tourism.

“These developments, however, come with costs, and we are only now discovering the extent of those costs in terms of depleted resources, lost habitat and polluted waters,” the report said.

Several environmental groups hailed the report and said it is a mandate for Congress and Bush to act.

From: “Jerry White” jdwhite@olypen.com

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Shrimp on menu for Sussex farmers (US)

Salisbury (Md.) Daily Times 

By Ben Perserga
04/14/2004

Tilapia taught Tom Handwerker a lesson.

The fish was once popular in the aquaculture market, though growers lost some interest in tilapia when they found it was difficult to sell, said Handwerker, an agriculture professor at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore..

In the late 1990s, farmers were given one primary broker to peddle the fish, he said. A price war broke out, which eventually hurt the growers.

“We taught them all how to grow it, but not how to market it,” Handwerker said Tuesday.

Now, seafood is again being promoted as a way for farmers on the Delmarva Peninsula to diversify their income, and Handwerker hopes to learn from those mistakes in his newest venture, called Just Shrimp.

As company president, Handwerker explained his aquaculture plan for farmers in a meeting Tuesday with Delaware and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials and potential investors.

He said the choice of shrimp came down to what product was most viable.

“In the United States alone, shrimp imports represent 80 percent of the seafood sales,” he said.

After three years and a grant from the USDA, Handwerker opened his operation at a farm near Laurel. He said the company will develop the shrimp in a nursery and then ship them to a Sussex County farm production site.

Under the supervision of contracted farmers and Just Shrimp, company staffers will harvest the product when it matures after a four-month cycle.

Once Handwerker introduces the system to Sussex farmers in May, he hopes to have 10 sites helping him create 350,000 to 500,000 pounds of shrimp a year.

“We hope to control the market everywhere within a four-hour distance,” he said.

Handwerker said the contract growers would have to supply the site, capital for a facility and pay operating costs.

However, the growers could generate a potential net income of more than $20,000, he said.

Despite the projected upside, Handwerker said the aquaculture business is not meant to replace Sussex County’s traditional farming staples of poultry and soybeans.

“This is not in competition,” he said. “We’re looking at the capacity of blending.”

Marlene Elliot, Delaware/Maryland director of USDA Rural Development, said growing shrimp is another way for farmers to supplement their income.

“It’s important we provide Delaware farmers with every opportunity,” she said.

From: SeaWeb Aquaculture Clearinghouse

STORIES/ISSUES
Industrial Fish Farming

No antibiotics are currently approved by the FDA for use with shrimp, but OTC may be the first.

Oxytetracycline, shrimp, and the Food and Drug Administration: A status report

By Don Lightner, Rod Williams, William Bray and Addison Lawrence

Source: USMSFP Industry Briefs www.usmsfp.org/

We have all heard the old adage that “if a little is good, then more is better.” It is easy to understand how a shrimp farmer facing serious disease losses due to bacterial diseases, such as vibriosis and necrotizing
hepatopancreatitis, might be tempted to up the dose a little in attempting to control these diseases by treating with medicated feeds containing oxytetracycline (OTC).

View the ARCHIVES of this list.

From: mskladany@iatp.org

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NHNE News List

WORLD’S MARINE LIFE IS GETTING SICKER

By Debora MacKenzie, New Scientist April 19, 2004

For years, apparent increases in illness among marine creatures, from whales to coral, have left marine scientists with the uneasy suspicion that the seas are increasingly plagued by disease. Now, US researchers have uncovered
the first good evidence that they are right.

In 1998, a dozen of the world’s top experts on diseases of marine animals warned that sea creatures seemed to be getting sick more often, with more diseases.

New viruses had appeared in whales and seals, while corals were dying of fungal and algal infections. Pilchards succumbed to viruses and an aggressive parasite expanded its range to attack commercial oysters, scallops and clams. In the Caribbean, some unknown bacteria wiped outwhat had been the dominant sea urchin.

But there was no way to tell if the apparent increase was simply due to more scientists paying more attention to marine disease. There was no baseline, as no one had ever measured disease incidence in any of these species decades ago.

Now, Jessica Ward, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, has shed important new light on the problem by looking at how the number of reports of marine diseases in nine different groups of marine creatures has changed
in the scientific literature since 1970.

“We wanted to find out if something was actually happening,” Ward told New Scientist. “For most groups of organisms, we found that yes, there is something going on out there. Now we hope more people will try and figure
out where it is coming from.”

True incidence

Ward, with Kevin Lafferty, of the University of California in Santa Barbara, first tested whether changing numbers of scientific reports of rabies in US raccoons matched the true incidence of the disease, which is known independently. They matched, suggesting more scientific reports really do mean more disease.

The pair further tested the relationship by removing the most prolific laboratory from the publications they collected for each group of marine creatures — just in case increased reporting reflected only one scientist’s
funding success. This did not change any apparent disease trends. Neither did taking out multiple papers on one well-reported disease event, such as the Caribbean urchin die-off.

So using scientific reports as a measure, Ward and Lafferty found that disease has increased in turtles, corals, marine mammals, urchins, and molluscs such as oysters.

Illness seems to have remained steady in the shark and shrimp families, and in seagrasses. Surprisingly, disease reports have diminished for fish.

Easy prey

There are numerous possible reasons for rising disease. One, Ward suggests, is increasing sea surface temperatures due to global warming. This can cause corals to bleach, making them easier prey for infections.

Warming has also led to the northward spread of the oyster parasite Perkinsus. And warming is thought to accelerate the growth of tumours in turtles caused by a herpes virus.

Another possible factor is that human over-fishing has destabilised marine ecosystems. For example, when the urchins in the Caribbean died, corals were overwhelmed by the algae the urchins used to eat. “Normally fish would have eaten the algae instead, but they weren’t there,” says Ward.

Other suggested causes include:

? new pathogens from domestic animals, such as dog distemper virus and the parasite Toxoplasma

? bioaccumulation of toxins weakening marine mammals’ immunity

? new species carried across oceans in ships’ ballast tanks introducing new diseases

In the face of all this, the apparent health of fish is intriguing. Ward says this could be because the fish are simply fewer in number. Many pathogens die out among animals that are not packed densely enough to pass
the infection on. But it is also possible, she says, that the frequency of disease is just as bad or worse — but fewer fish mean fewer observations, and fewer reports.

Journal reference: PLoS Biology (vol 2, p 542)

From: “sauvage”

ANNOUNCEMENTS
SWS Ramsar Support Grant Program – Announcement of 2004 Awards

The Society of Wetland Scientists Ramsar Support Grant Program,
established in 1999, advances Ramsar Convention on Wetlands objectives, including the selection, designation, management, and networking of Ramsar sites, and the promotion of Ramsar’s Wise Use guidelines. Projects are funded at a level of US$5,000 per year on a competitive basis as reviewed by an evaluation team, which includes three wetland professionals from the Society of Wetland Scientists, a Ramsar Secretariat representative, and in certain years, a representative of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of International Affairs. This year’s evaluation team was comprised of Dr. Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General, Ramsar Secretariat; Dr. Judy Drexler, U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Division; Dr. Katherine Ewel, Institute of
Pacific Islands Forestry, U.S. Forest Service; Dr. Chris Freeman,
University of Wales, Bangor; and Eric Gilman, grant program manager. Funds from the Society of Wetland Scientists and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of International Affairs make this grant program possible.

Information on the grant program can be found at
. For additional information, contact Eric Gilman, Grant Program Manager, at ericgilman@earthlink.net .

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IUCN Small Grants for Tourism fund

I have the pleasure to inform you on the opening of the Small Grants for Tourism Fund. This fund is part of the Biodiversity and Tourism Program of the Netherlands Committee for IUCN (NC-IUCN). The fund aims to support local NGOs and entrepreneurs that develop tourism activities as a means of conserving biodiversity and contributing to poverty alleviation.

The Small Grants for Tourism Fund is a small fund with a maximum funding per project of 12,500 Euro and with a limited number of projects that can be funded. In the enclosed attachment ‘SGT Funding Criteria’ you’ll find further information on criteria for funding and submission procedures.

Attached to this e-mail you’ll also find information on:
-the NC-IUCN program Biodiversity & Tourism;
-the Tourism for Nature and Nature for Tourism project.

For more information on NC-IUCN, our tourism program and the project, look at:
www.nciucn.nl .

We encourage you to disseminate this letter with attachments among your own network.

Apologies for possible cross-posting.

With kind regards,

Ms. Nanda Ritsma
Tourism & Biodiversity Program
Netherlands Committee for IUCN
From: Nanda Ritsma

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Farming the Seas: New PBS Film Documentary

Farming the Seas takes an inside look at the
explosive problems and bountiful possibilities that aquaculture, or “fish farming”, currently offers to avert a global food crisis while
highlighting ground-breaking efforts by scientists, communities and industry to develop viable, sustainable operations.
Narrated by Peter Coyote. Produced by Habitat Media.

Please Contact Steve Cowan, the Film Producer at steve@habitatmedia.org  for schedule of showings.

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Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 1997-2001

We are pleased to announce that Wetlands International has formally launched a new Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 1997-2001 report titled “Numbers and distribution of Waterbirds and Wetlands in the Asia-Pacific
region. Results of the Asian Waterbird Census: 1997-2001″ on 4 April 2004 in Edinburgh, UK in conjunction with the Global Flyway Conference jointed organised by UK and Dutch governments and Wetlands international….

The publication is available from the Natural History Book Service www.nhbs.co.uk , and will be available for downloading shortly at Wetlands International Website www.wetlands.org/ .

Thank you for your kind attention. Learn more about the Asian Waterbird Census at THIS WEBSITE

From: David david@wiap.nasionet.net

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
New Handbook of Mangroves in the
Philippines

Handbook of Mangroves in the Philippines – Panay should have arrived or is on its way. The book is a field guide for local communities, NGOs, students, teachers and researchers to identify 35 species of Philippine mangroves based on plant morphology, biology and ecology; has 106 pages, numerous full color photos, handy size and laminated cover (ideal for field use); and chapters on Importance of Mangroves, Decline and Legislation, Conservation, Mangrove-Friendly Aquaculture, Rehabilitation.

From J.H. Primavera, Ph.D. Senior Scientist, SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department
jhprima@aqd.seafdec.org.ph

——————————————-

Launch of the Asian Waterbird Census report 1997-2001

We are pleased to announce that Wetlands International has formally launched a new Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 1997-2001 report titled “Numbers and distribution of Waterbirds and Wetlands in the Asia-Pacific region. Results of the Asian Waterbird Census: 1997-2001″ on 4 April 2004 in Edinburgh, UK in conjunction with the Global Flyway Conference jointed organised by UK and Dutch governments and Wetlands international.

The first copies of this publication were presented to representatives of the Ramsar Convention, Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and Japanese Government by Ms. Jane Madgwick, Chief Executive Officer of Wetlands International. Dr. Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General at the Ramsar Secretariat, Mr. Marco Barbieri Technical Officer of the CMS Secretariat, and Ms.Shiho Kanie, Chief of International Team, Wildlife Division of the Ministry of the Environment congratulated Wetlands International for the excellent work and publication. The launch was chaired by Mr. Ward Hagemeijer, the Head of Wetlands International’s Species Conservation Programme and the publication was introduced by David Li, Waterbird Conservation Officer (Asia), Wetlands International.

In introducing this report to the meeting, David Li of Wetlands International has first expressed their appreciation to the contribution of thousands AWC volunteers, without their support, the AWC would not have been so successful and this report would not have been available.

The report presents the latest information on waterbird numbers and distribution, as well as the status of important wetlands in Asia.

_ This report summarises the results of the counts from 1,392 sites in 22 countries including 61 wetlands of international importance listed under the Ramsar Convention, 32 Migratory Waterbird Network Sites in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway and 43 Important Bird Areas.

_ A total of 291 species of migratory and resident waterbirds and 15 species of wetland-dependent raptors (birds of prey) were recorded; and a maximum of over 4.5 million waterbirds were counted in 2001.

_ The publication provides distribution maps for 110 species, including 24 globally threatened species.

The data in the report aims to contribute to conservation efforts of wetland management bodies, government agencies, conventions and NGOs at the local to the international level. Forewords kindly provided by the Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands and the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species (two major international data users) calls on their Contracting Parties to use this publication to promote wetland and waterbird conservation nationally demonstrates the importance of the AWC.

For your immediate information, the summary of the report is attached at the end of this email. Additionally, the Ramsar Website has provided a writeup on this launch.

The publication is available from the Natural History Book Service www.nhbs.co.uk , and will be available for downloading shortly at Wetlands International Website www.wetlands.org/ .

Learn about the Asian Waterbird Census at WEBSITE

From: “David Lee”
AWC International Coordinator and Waterbird Conservation Officer (Asia)

CALL FOR PAPERS
CALL FOR PAPERS; SUBMISSION DEADLINE JUNE 1 FOR WETLANDS 2004

Invitation to Submit an Abstract or Attend: Staff of federal, state, local governments, not for profit organizations, birders, watershed councils, land trusts, landowners, all others welcome.

NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM WETLANDS 2004:
PROTECTING WETLANDS OF INTERNATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE
October 19-20, 2004. Hilton Kansas City Airport, Kansas City, Missouri

The Association of State Wetland Managers invites you to submit a paper to present at the National Symposium: Wetlands 2004: Protecting Wetlands of International Significance to be held on October 19-20, 2004 at the Hilton Kansas City Airport, Kansas City, Missouri. An optional field seminar will also be held to Great Bend Kansas on October 21 and 22. The deadline to submit abstracts is June 1, 2004.

National Symposium Goals: This symposium and field seminar (optional) will be held along the Central Flyway to help build the capacity of states, local governments, federal agencies, and others to help monitor, assess, protect and restore wetlands of international significance. These wetlands include
some of the nation’s most vulnerable wetlands including Prairie Potholes, playas, bogs, and coastal salt marshes. They include Ramsar sites, wetland-related national wildlife refuges, wetlands in national parks, Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve sites, North American Waterfowl Management Plan sites, National Estuarine Research Reserves, and other wetlands.

The symposium will primarily focus on the protection and restoration of wetlands of international significance in the U.S. However, a portion of the program will be devoted to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. A major emphasis of the symposium will be to develop improved cooperation between wetland and bird protection groups. A broad host of other issues will be addressed as well.

Sponsors: The symposium is being sponsored by the:
· U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
· U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, International Programs

Call for Paper Topics: Please see call for papers announcement at the ASWM web site  for a compressive list of topics and abstract submission guidance. Additional topics will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Abstract Submission: Please e-mail abstracts in Word, Word Perfect, ASCII, or rich text format to Sharon at abstracts@aswm.org  by June 1, 2004. Please see website for specifics on submitting abstracts.

Please visit the ASWM conference web site for updates and registration
information.

From: “Wetland Breaking News” news@aswm.org
AQUACULTURE CORNER
Dynamic New Film Explores Impacts of Salmon Farming

Net Loss: The Storm Over Salmon Farming
52 minutes, 2003

KSPS/Spokane ? Thursday, April 29, 10 p.m.

KEET/Eureka – Thursday, May 18 ? 8 p.m.

KIXE/Redding – Friday, May 28 ? 10 p.m.

Please check local listings for broadcast on other PBS stations

All over the world, fish are at the heart of people’s diets and cultures. And here in the Pacific Northwest, there’s no fish like the legendary salmon. An important element in Native cultures, a livelihood for generations of fishermen, and a staple of the Northwest diet, the salmon has become an icon for this region.

But decades of habitat loss and poor fisheries management have threatened our wild salmon runs. One new alternative, the commercial farming of salmon in underwater cages, has promised more fish for people to eat and less pressure on the wild salmon. So what are the repercussions of salmon
aquaculture on our marine environment and coastal communities?

Filmed in British Columbia, Washington, and Chile, the new documentary, Net Loss: The Storm Over Salmon Farming, examines this industrial approach to producing salmon from both local and global perspectives. Government and
industry spokesmen make the case for salmon farming, and fishermen, Native people, scientists and chefs explain the dangers it may pose for the environment, human health, and coastal cultures.

Those who appear include whale biologist Alexandra Morton, Joseph McGonigle of Aqua Bounty Farms, Rodrigo Infante of Salmonchile, Seth Zuckerman, co-author of Salmon Nation, former Canadian MP Lynn Hunter, Chief Bill Cranmer, Namgis First Nation [BC], and independent fishermen North and
South.

With recent major articles about the implications of fish farming published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and local papers along the Northwest Coast from Oregon to Alaska, more and more people are growing concerned about the source and quality of a favorite food. This timely film, combining lush photography, lively music, and an engaging narrative, lays out the issues in a way that is understandable and highly watchable.

Net Loss: The Storm Over Salmon Farming has been screened to standing-room-only audiences in California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Texas, Minnesota, and Maine. It won a bronze award at the Columbus
International Film Festival in the fall of 2003, and was featured at the Toronto Planet in Focus Festival.

“Net Loss probes one of the most important and cautionary tales for the future relationship between humanity and the sea. We need to think long and hard about this film.” – Carl Safina, President, Blue Ocean Institute

Producer: Melissa Young
Co-directors: Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young

——————————————-

www.salmonfarmmonitor.org

The Sunday Herald, 25th April

Concern over ?sh-farm pesticides

Over 1000 licences for chemicals classified as ?pollutants,

By Rob Edwards, Environment Editor

More than 1000 licences to use toxic chemicals that critics claim are polluting sea lochs have been issued to fish farms, according to new figures from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

More than 300 fish farms around the coast have permission to discharge up to four pesticides into the sea. The companies with the most licences are Marine Harvest, owned by Dutch multinational Nutreco, and Scottish Sea Farms, part of Norway,s Leroy Seafood empire.

Although Sepa insists that it is providing an “adequate? level of protection, environmentalists are worried that the chemicals could be harming wildlife. There is evidence that low doses are capable of killing tiny crustaceans vital to the food chain.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the government,s conservation agency, is keen to minimise fish farmers, use of the chemicals where possible. “There is concern about the potential impact of chemicals on the marine environment, particularly on or close to sites protected for their natural heritage,? said an SNH spokeswoman.

Four main pesticides are used to kill the sea lice that often plague caged salmon, eating them alive. The toxin for which the most licences have been granted ? 311 ? is called cypermethrin, which attacks the central nervous system of crustaceans. The second most common is azamethiphos,an organophosphate pesticide for which 282 licences have been granted. The other two chemicals in widespread use are teflubenzuron (212 licences) and emamectin benzoate (211 licences).

The chemicals are all classified by their manufacturers as marine pollutants. Some studies have suggested that they kill copepods, tiny organisms in plankton which are an important source of food for young fish. They could also harm crabs and lobsters.

Sepa says that 177 fish farms have been given licences to discharge all four pesticides. A further 139 farms have permission to use one, two or three of the chemicals, while 142 farms apparently use none of them.

Sepa supplied a detailed 19-page dossier on the chemicals in response to a request from the anti-fish farm campaigner, Don Staniford. “Scotland,s marine environment is paying a heavy price for cheap farmed salmon,? he told the Sunday Herald.

Staniford, an activist from the Salmon Farm Protest Group, argues that salmon farmers shouldn,t use the sea as a dumping ground but should pay to treat their toxic waste. “Salmon farmers need to clean up their act instead of freeloading on Scotland,s pristine marine environment,? he said.

Sepa, however, insisted that the fish-farming industry in Scotland was one of the most strictly regulated in the world. The agency had devoted considerable resources to assessing the environmental risk of the chemicals, which all break down naturally.

In surveys by Sepa during 2001 and 2002, residues of three of the chemicals were detected on the seabed near 11% of salmon farms. But according to Andy Rosie, Sepa,s fish-farming specialist, they were all within environmental safety limits.

From: “Don Staniford”

AROUND THE CORNER
Diluting The Waters With Salmon Farming?
I am curious as to why MAP has decided in recent months to tackle the salmon farming issue. While I recognize there are many serious environmental and social issues surrounding temperate salmon farming and that there are superficial parallels between this and tropical shrimp farming, you run the risk of diluting MAP’s core mission by lumping these issues together. And I think that MAP’s past success has been due, at least in part, to its clear focus on a core mission (i.e., that of conserving mangrove forests).

Brad Walters, PhD
Associate Professor of Geography &
Coordinator of Environmental Studies
Mount Allison University
Sackville, N.B. E4L 1A7
Canada
Brad Walters

=======

Hi Brad,

Thanks for your note and stated concern.

However, I do not think by including information on salmon and other aquaculture issues at the end of the Late Friday News we are diluting our main focus which is on mangrove forest conservation AND local community empowerment for managing their coastal resources. For one thing, we want to bring in all of those who are quite concerned about industrial aquaculture in general, and salmon in particular, to show them there is a link between loss of coastal resources and community rights in mangrove regions as well as non-mangrove regions with the growth of industrial aquculture. We know that shrimp farming is only one example of industrial aquaculture practices that could be harmful, and in years to come may be replaced by fish farming or crab culture in large-scale. So, making these connections now seems relevant.

Also, we have had the Aquaculture Corner section of the LFN since 1999 or so, as this has been a feature of our newsletter. We know that coastal wetland areas are directly impacted by these expanding ventures, and the lessons learned in one sector, even if in the North, can be of value to those facing similar or future threats in the South, and vice-versa.

Please also note that the section on salmon aquaculture is pretty short, and most of the news is on mangrove related issues.
Ciao,
Alfredo

Late Friday News, 135th Ed., 4 April 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 135th Edition of the Late Friday News brought to you after a brief hiatus while this editor visited in S. America.

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 135th Edition, 4 April 2004
FEATURE STORY
Coconut Charcoal

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched
Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop
MAP Toolkit Program – Improved Cookstoves
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand
MAP Work Study/Eco-Tour Yucatan Peninsula
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

AFRICA
Nigeria
PROTEST AGAINST WEST AFRICA GAS PIPELINE

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand
Gulf bridge ‘threat to birds’
Ships stranded, trade along the Mekong with China at a halt
Low water blamed on China dams

S. ASIA

India
Bhitarkanika Mangtrove Reserve Endangered by Dharmra Port
***ACTION ALERT!!!*** & Sample Letter

Bangladesh
$1.7b shrimp export earning target fixed
Shrimp Culture: ‘Ecologically suicidal, economically unjust’
Sundarbans blaze rages on
Tk 10,000 cr shrimp export earning fixed
Cairn won’t explore Sundarbans

E. ASIA

China
Mangrove project of Xiamen University greenwild association

LATIN AMERICA
Honduras
Destruction and contamination of coastal wetlands of the Gulf of Fonseca,

Mexico
Greenpeace says regulations protecting Mexico’s mangrove swamps in danger

CARIBBEAN
NEW EVIDENCE ON DEATH OF CARIBBEAN CORAL REEFS

STORIES/ISSUES
Dead Zones Stir Live Debate
GLOBAL BAN ON GM-TREES, Action Alert

ANNOUNCEMENTS
RAMSAR Website Linked to MAP
CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS AT RISK
IIRR International Courses

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
CORAL Duscussion Board

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Fish farms slammed as feed-lot operations
Ridge calls fish farming a national security matter

FEATURE STORY
Coconut Charcoal

Description: Throughout the tropics and sub-tropics, coconut plantations provide products such as coconut meat, milk, butter, and oil, and coconut wood. Traditionally, coconut husks have been the waste product of this industry with very little economic value. A simple process of converting the husks to charcoal can turn this
waste product into a very desirable product. Coconut charcoal can be used for cooking, heating, and smoking meat and fish (when used as a base of heat as coconut charcoal gives off no smoke). By taking an additional step of steaming the charcoal under careful conditions, the low cost, readily available coconut husk can be converted into one of the most efficient and highly sought after activated charcoals for use in water purifiers, filters and other industrial uses. Charcoal is lightweight and easily transported.
Sustainable: Since the husk of the coconut seed is regenerated each time the tree fruits, and coconut palms produce nuts throughout the year, the fibrous husks are
entirely sustainable. The tree is unharmed by the harvest process, and the number of nuts that can be produced by a single tree in a year is high. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates “a normal-bearing, adult palm produces at least one matured ready-to-harvest bunch of coconuts every month. Depending on the variety, the number of nuts per bunch can vary from 5 to 15. The theoretical number of bunches per palm that can be harvested annually is about 14 from tall coconut varieties and 16 from the dwarf species.
This translates to estimated nut harvests between 70 and 240 nuts per tree per year.
Attainable: In locations where coconuts are common, husks of the nuts can often be obtained at very little cost. According to the FAO, husks are oftentimes left unused. “Since dehusked coconut is an important article of commerce locally, husking therefore becomes mandatory. The coconut husks are left with the farmer. In the places where there is a coir fibre industry, the husks may be sold to this industry. Most often the husks are not sold but are used as fuel for drying copra (dried coconut albumen). If little or no copra is made, there is an accumulation of coconut husks.
Marketable: Activated coconut charcoal for water filtration applications retails in the U.S. for US$35 per kilo, while pharmaceutical grade activated charcoal sells
for as much as US$193.00/kilo. Although it is unlikely that small charcoal produc- ers will be able to attain the pharmaceutical grade quality, it is possible to contract
with larger activated charcoal producers to supply the source of charcoal, earning more value than simply supplying the raw husks. Another marketable product of
the coconut husk is the production of lump charcoal and charcoal briquettes for heating or cooking. Small-scale entrepreneurs can easily produce both products.
Simple coconut charcoal is odorless, smokeless and burns at a high BTU making it a perfect cooking and heating source. Lump charcoal, or charcoal in its most basic
form, is a suitable market product for small-scale businesses, requiring very little capital investment to start. As production increases, capitol investments in equipment can lead to briquette production and even the ability to activate the charcoal for the highest returns.
Mangrove forest benefit ? Availability of coconut husks at low costs, and the speed at which they reproduce, reduces demand on mangrove wood as the predominant
charcoal base. Production costs of coconut charcoal are substantially lower than those of mangrove charcoal production, because of their availability and low cost to transport. The end product of coconut charcoal is nearly indistinguishable from that of mangrove charcoal. Compared to harvesting mangrove wood, husks are easily transported, even by the basket load, and require no special equipment or risk to harvest. Demand for mangrove charcoal diminishes, as coconut charcoal becomes more readily available in the market.

From: Sam

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

at: WEBSITE

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

————————————-

ANNOUNCEMENT: Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop

The third “Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration” training workshop will be held at the Anne Kolb Nature Center, in Hollywood, Florida, USA, 21-24 February 2005. The training site is within a 500 ha mangrove restoration project at West Lake Park operated by Broward County. The award-winning project was designed by Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III, who will be teaching the course.

The workshop includes an introduction to mangrove forest ecology, management options and problems, and restoration design issues. The class programs are all given in a PowerPoint format, and each student is provided with a print out of the presentation and additional handouts including monitoring reports for typical restoration projects. Case studies of 5 successful mangrove restoration projects, and several unsuccessful projects, are discussed. Field trips are taken within the 500 ha West Lake Park mangrove restoration project (now 16 years old) and a new project just two years old, for a comparison.

The emphasis is on cost-effective successful mangrove management and restoration, and cost figures for typical projects are discussed and explained. The hydrologic restoration of mangroves is emphasized as the best approach to successful restoration at minimal cost (see Erftemeijer and Lewis 2000, Lewis 1999, 2000a, 2000b, Lewis and Marshall 1998, Lewis and Streever 2000, Stevenson et. al 1999, and Turner and Lewis 1997, for further discussion about hydrologic restoration of mangroves). Planting of mangroves is discussed in light of the many failures of this alone to successfully restore mangroves.

Cost for the course not including travel to Ft. Lauderdale, lodging or food is $650, due by January 1, 2005. Two qualified students will be allowed to attend for free. This course is taught in conjunction with the Mangrove Action Project.

More information can be provided by Sherry Capaz at
and www.mangroverestoration.com .

Literature Citations:

Erftemeijer, P. L. A., and R. R. Lewis III. 2000. Planting mangroves on intertidal mudflats: habitat restoration or habitat conversion? Pages 156-165 in Proceedings of the ECOTONE VIII Seminar “Enhancing Coastal Ecosystems Restoration for the 21st Century, Ranong, Thailand, 23-28 May 1999. Royal Forest Department of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand.

Lewis, R. R. 1999. Key concepts in successful ecological restoration of mangrove forests. Pages 12-32 in Proceedings of the TCE-Workshop No. II, Coastal Environmental Improvement in Mangrove/Wetland Ecosystems, 18-23 August 1998, Ranong, Thailand. Danish-SE Asian Collaboration in Tropical Coastal Ecosystems (TCE) Research and Training. NACA, P.O. Box 1040, Bangkok, Thailand 10903

Lewis, R. R. 2000a. Don’t forget wetland habitat protection and restoration for Florida’s fisheries. National Wetlands Newsletter 22(6): 9-10 + 20.

Lewis, R. R. 2000b. Ecologically based goal setting in mangrove forest and tidal marsh restoration in Florida. Ecological Engineering 15(3-4): 191-198.

Lewis, R.. R., and M. J. Marshall. 1998. Principles of successful restoration of shrimp aquaculture ponds back to mangrove forests. Page 327 in World Aquaculture Society Book of Abstracts, Aquaculture ’98, Las Vegas, Nevada. (Abstract)

Lewis, R.. R., and W. Streever. 2000. Restoration of mangrove habitat. Tech Note ERDC TN-WRP-VN-RS-3.2 U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi. 7 pp.

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W.. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

Turner, R. E., and R. R. Lewis. 1997. Hydrologic restoration of coastal wetlands. Wetlands Ecol. Manage. 4(2):65-72.

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

————————————-

MAP Toolkit Program – Improved Cookstoves

After a successful partnership working at the CCRC Manado, JKTI (Indonesian Improved Cookstove Network, a member of ARECOP – Asian Regional Cookstove Program) and MAP will again partner to bring improved cookstoves, and appropriate charcoal technologies to North Sumatra.

MAP-Indonesia and JKTI signed an agreement today whereby JKTI will send two facilitators to North Sumatra to hold a four day improved cookstove workshop in the village of Kuala Indah. 20 participants from Kuala Indah and the nearby village of Gombus Laut will design and build fuel efficient cookstoves for home use, an institutional cookstove for processing palm sugar from coconut and nypah palm, as well as study carbonization of agricultural waste products for charcoal production. The workshop will be co-facilitated by Yayasan Bina Insani and Yayasan Sinar Kasih Desa, two NGO’s from North Sumatra who will be supported by JKTI to implement follow-up activities in the region.

This workshop will take place March 29-April , 2004. Then in early May, villagers who participated in the cookstove and charcoal workshop will share what they learned with members of the 10th In The Hands of the Fisherfolks workshop. A similar arrangement took place in Cambodia, between MAP and Cambodia Fuelwood Savings Program (also a member of ARECOP). In Cambodia however, improved cookstoves were demonstrated at the IHOF workshop without previous cookstove community development work in the region. In this case (in North Sumatra), MAP and JKTI were able to co-ordinate far enough in advance in order to initiate direct transfer of appropriate technology before the IHOF workshop takes place. In this way two new goals are accomplished 1)IHOF participants will be able to witness the cookstoves in use directly in a village setting and 2) MAP is contributing directly to community development in the IHOF workshop location.

We are excited about this working partnership between ARECOP members and MAP. After the Medan workshop, ARECOP and MAP will meet in order to create documentation on the relationship between improved cookstoves and mangroves, and also for strategic planning in terms of disseminating improved cookstove technology in mangrove regions.

From: “Ben Brown”

————————————-

ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

————————————-

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

————————————-

Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. GROUNDSFORCHANGE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair Trade Federation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

————————————-

Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand

MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT,S
SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM
An experiential study of Thailand,s coastal resources
And the people who depend on them

A new exciting two-week experiential ecology program will provide an opportunity to learn about Thailand,s mangrove forests and other critical, but often threatened coastal wetlands. Visit Thailand’s first coastal national park located on the Gulf of Thailand and world famous Phang Nga Bay and the Island of Phuket on the Andaman Sea. Learn about the ecological importance of mangroves, the endangered Dugong and see water birds, languors, and mud skippers. Learn what the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) and a local Thai NGO are doing to conserve mangroves. Stay with a fisherfolk family on an island in Phang Nga Bay and experience first hand their culture and efforts to protect the coastal resources on which that their livelihood depends. An extra John Gray SeaCanoe Eco-tour can be arranged at the tour end to view the amazing mangroves and caves of Phang Nga Bay from the vantage point of a kayak, a truly intimate marine experience. www.johngray-seacanoe.com/

Program Dates: July 4-17
Fee not including airfare or food: $800/person
For more information contact: Dr. Lamar Robert lamar@thailand.com
Mangrove Action Project’s website.

======
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is now being considered for late August and early September 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

————————————-

John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first of many Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32°C
Humid.: 70 %
(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact

info@johngray-seacanoe.com . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

AFRICA
Nigeria

ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS ACTION/ FRIENDS OF THE EARTH, NIGERIA; 214, USELU-LAGOS ROAD; UGBOWO; BENIN CITY; NIGERIA TEL/FAX: +234-52-600 165 E-MAIL: ERACTION@INFOWEB.ABS.NET

March 29, 2004

PROTEST AGAINST WEST AFRICA GAS PIPELINE
PROJECT SHIFTS TO THE LAW COURT

Indigenes and residents of Nigerian communities affected by the proposed West African Gas Pipeline have instituted an action at the Federal High Court in Lagos to challenge the project. The citizens from Badagry communities, Lagos State and communities from the Escravos area in Delta
State are asking the court to stop the project, which is being implemented without respect for Nigerian laws and in total disregard of environmental and livelihood concerns of Nigerian communities.

The community people are asking the court to cancel the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Project, including the public hearings, on the grounds that the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company did not follow due process by consulting communities. The citizens argue that the Environmental Impact Assessment allegedly undertaken by the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company Ltd
(the 5th Defendant) or on its behalf in December, 2003 is unduly exclusive of the environmental impact of its project on the region stretching from Escravos to Alagbado and has been only selectively displayed and is
inaccessible to the public contrary to the mandatory provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act No. 86 of 1992 and is therefore illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

The suit was filed on behalf of Alhaji Alani Ajose and Chief Manua Kumuji (Lagos State) and Robinson Uroupa and Bello Oboko (Delta State) by the law firm of Bamidele Aturu and Company, with the support of Environmental Rights Action (ERA).

The defendants are the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Federal Ministry of Environment, ChevronTexaco Ltd, Shell Petroleum Development Company (Nigeria) Ltd and the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company Ltd. The other defendants are the Federal Government of Nigeria, Director of Petroleum Resources and the Attorney General of the Federation.

In their statement of claim, the plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that the authorisation of the West African Gas Pipeline project by the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria without previous consideration of their
environmental effects at an early stage is a violation of section 2 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act No. 86 of 1992 and Article 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement)
Act, Cap 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 and is therefore illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

The citizens declare that the West African Gas Pipeline Company is not entitled to be granted oil pipeline licence by the Nigeria National Petroleum Resources and the Director of Petroleum Resources (DPR or any
agency of the Federal Government) to construct a 30″ onshore and 20″ offshore natural gas pipeline for transporting natural gas from Alagbado Tee to VRA power plant in Takoradi, Ghana skirting the coastlines of Benin, Togo
and Ghana on the ground of substantial, grave and incurable non-compliance with the provisions of the Oil Pipelines Act, Cap 338, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 and the Petroleum Act, Cap 350,Laws of the
Federation of Nigeria, 1990.

The West African Gas Pipeline Company is registered in Bermuda, though all its operations will be in West Africa. The Company is not registered in Nigeria. The citizens are demanding that the court stop the company from
carrying out any activities, until it is registered in Nigeria with appropriate authorities.

The community people, in their Declaration state that the West African Gas Pipeline Treaty concluded between the Federal Government of Nigeria and three other governments in January, 2003, without compliance with Nigerian municipal laws is unpatriotic, illegal, unlawful, void and of no effect whatsoever.

The citizens further argue in their Declaration that the Federal Government of Nigeria is incompetent for the purpose of granting oil pipelines licence or for any purpose whatever to act and cannot possibly and legally act for the office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources which is at present factually and legally non-existent.

ERA and other civil society groups in Nigeria, Africa and the US have been criticising the proposed West African Gas project for the inability of the project sponsors led by ChevronTexaco to address the problem of gas flaring
from its Escravos Gas fields. Though the transnational corporation claims that the project will contribute to flares reduction, there remains no clear programme for use of flared associated gas into the WAGP. The WAGP will be connected to the Escravos-Lagos Gas Pipeline, which was built in the 1980s to transport unflared non-associated gas and was constructed without an
Environmental Impact Assessment.

Project sponsors have also not addressed safety issues against the background of pipeline explosions in the Western Niger Delta where thousands of community lives have been lost in recent years.

The Escravos area from where gas for the proposed pipeline will be sourced remain a centre of conflicts and impoverishment with pending issues of community rights unaddressed by the Nigerian government and the
transnational oil companies.

While transnational oil companies and the Nigerian government conclude plans to illegally pipe gas to commercial buyers offshore, Nigerian communities suffering the impact of gas exploitation remain without electricity.

ISAAC OSUOKA
Programme Manager, Energy & Mining

From: “Disera”

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand

Bangkok Post April 4, 2004

Gulf bridge ‘threat to birds’
Ornithologist warns of widespread impact

Ranjana Wangvipula
The coastal habitats of shorebirds would be threatened by the government’s gulf bridge project, a senior ornithologist has warned. The planned off-shore road was an “environmentally destructive strategy”, Mahidol University’s Phillip Round said yesterday.

Many thousands of shorebirds, some of them endangered species, either lived permanently in the Gulf of Thailand, the nation’s largest wetland, or migrated there each year.

Their habitat would be affected if the government built the planned 47km bridge across the gulf, linking Samut Sakhon and Phetchaburi provinces.

“It’s not only Laem Phak Bia that would be affected. Its impact would spread across the gulf,” Mr Round said.

Ponds and mudflats around the gulf provided feeding grounds for birds. These areas had not been zoned for special protection and were vulnerable to physical changes once the bridge was built, Mr Round said.

The changes would begin with a sharp increase in coastal land prices and then an invasion of development and businesses.

“I believe the birds’ habitats would be quickly reduced,” the WWF Thailand director for conservation, John Parr, said.

Trying to wake up those with little understanding of coastal ecology, Mr Round wrote an article for the Bangkok Post last year describing the inner gulf as a haven for shorebirds.

He walked readers through scenes crowded with local and migratory birds. Some birds, he wrote, feed by diving underwater. Others stalk the mudflats looking for mudskippers and “two residents … the Black-winged Stilt and Little Tern, lay their cryptically patterned eggs on the ground”.

The rarest and most endangered shorebird in the gulf was the spoon-billed sandpiper, which usually breeds in Russia’s far northeastern arctic, Mr Round said.

There were thought to be only 1,000 pairs worldwide, and up to four pair had been seen in Samut Sakhon.

Biologists suspect changes along their migration route, where mudflats in the Yellow Sea, between Korea and China, have been lost to reclamation, have caused a decline on their breeding sites.

Such uncontrolled development was an “environmentally destructive strategy”, Mr Round said.

He feared the government was following such a path when he first learned of the gulf bridge project three years ago. He sent a letter to the state environmental agency expressing his concerns, but received no response.

However, the director for land transport analysis at the Office of the Commission for the Management of Land Traffic, Prasit Rugsayos, argued the road would have little impact.

“It would take up as little as 2.4 rai of land at the two coastal areas where the bridge comes ashore,” he said.

The two proposed areas are Kra Sa Khao temple in Samut Sakhon and Laem Phak Bia.

To ensure there was minimum adverse impact, only areas of deteriorated mangrove forest would be used for construction, Mr Prasit said.

The over-the-water bridge would serve as a short-cut to the south and part of a planned new 128km motorway.

From:

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Ships stranded, trade along the Mekong with China at a halt
Thousands of tonnes of cargo held up

By Teerawat Khamthita
Cargo movements between southern China and northern Thailand have dried up as the falling level of the Mekong river has stopped all shipping.

Kanchana Sian, 30, a businesswoman in Chiang Saen district of Chiang Rai, said many cargo vessels were stranded on sand bars between Jinghong and Chiang Rai. Boats still in the two ports could not leave because the river was too shallow.

A ship belonging to her Chinese husband’s company, PX Import-Export, had grounded about 500 metres up the river after leaving Chiang Saen with 100 tonnes of yarn.

If the dry spell continues businesses along the river will lose hundreds of millions of baht, Mrs Kanchana said.

Sermchai Kittiratanapaiboon, chairman of the Chiang Rai chamber of commerce, said several thousand tonnes of cargo were stalled in warehouses in Chiang Saen, including energy drinks, dried longan and other consumer goods. On land, there were several forest fires reported along the Thai-Burmese border in Chiang Rai. Firefighters were building fire breaks to contain the damage.

———-
March 25

MEKONG RIVER

Low water blamed on China dams
Open, close to allow blasting of rapids

By Piyaporn Wongruang
The recent drop in the level of the Mekong river in Chiang Saeng could be the result of the temporary closing of dams in China, says a transport official.

Sub-Lt Preecha Petchwongse, secretary of the Joint Committee on Coordination of Commercial Navigation on the Lancang-Mekong river, said engineers had started clearing some parts of the Krai rapids in the Upper North, one of the rapids to be demolished to improve nagivation.

The project, which includes installation of navigation marks, is one of six major schemes under a commercial navigation agreement signed by Burma, China, Laos and Thailand in 2000.

Works are planned on a 886km river section from Simao Port in China’s Yunnan province to Laos’ Luang Prabang, and the first phase of the project covering a 331km river section from the Chinese and Burmese borders to Luang Prabang was supposed to be completed this dry season.

The engineering team had asked China to alternate closing the dam _ three days shut and one day open _ so work could carry on, Sub-Lt Preecha said.

The water level in the river is so low that some cargo ships have stopped travelling upstream.

The level must be at least 150cm for 100-tonne vessels.

Somchai Poolnikom, chief of the Chiang Saen Hydrological Centre, said the level had increased by 10cm over the previous day to 135cm at noon.

“The river level is quite normal for this time of year,” he said. “This season is particularly dry. But what’s clearly unnatural is that the water level is fluctuating so much.”

A source at the Marine Office 1 Chiang Saen Branch said some cargo ships became stuck in shallow parts of the river last week. Some traders had asked China to release water from their dams.

From mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

S. ASIA

India

Ashish Fernandes, Sanctuary Asia,
www.sanctuaryasia.com

The Hindu Sunday Magazine 
March 28, 2004

Bhitarkanika Mangtrove Reserve Endangered by Dharmra Port Facility
CAUGHT IN A CORPORATE WEB

By Pankaj Sekhsaria
The revival of the port project in Dhamra, Orissa, places huge risks on the endangered Olive Ridley turtle and Gahirmatha, the largest turtle nesting site in the world, says PANKAJ SEKHSARIA.

THE timing could be a mere coincidence; it could also be plain doublespeak. The occasion was the release of the centenary journal of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) on November 12, 2003. Before the distinguished audience, the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI)
Bank announced that it was contributing Rs. 50 lakhs to the BNHS to initiate a “Green Governance Programme” (GGP). The aim of the programme would be to sensitise corporate houses, financial institutions and the media to issues of biodiversity, wildlife habitats, environmental laws and conventions.

The brochure talked of the ecological consequences of financing environmentally damaging projects, of corporate environmental responsibility and how it was a business strategy that works. It also listed out a number
of sites and themes which would be included in the programme. This included among others, the Lakshadweep Islands (eco-tourism: problems and prospects);
the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan (extractive industries and conservation), the Kumaon-Garhwal hills (infrastructure development), the Gulf of Kutch (bio-diversity and the impact of oil refineries) and the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary in Orissa (port development and conservation
issues).

The inclusion of Bhitarkanika, in particular indicated the sincerity of the bank to the programme. The Bhitarkanika belt of the Orissa coast is probably the most significant little patch on the surface of the earth for the long-term survival of the Olive Ridley turtle, a reptile that has been around for millions of years. This is the largest rookery in the world for the critically endangered species and half a million turtles nest here every
winter.

All, however, is not well on the conservation front. For the last few years, thousands of these turtles are being washed ashore dead, after being caught in the nets of the trawlers that continue to ply here illegally during the breeding season. Unable to surface to breathe, they suffocate and drown and
are eventually washed onto the beaches along the coast here. The other prominent and potential threat here is the proposed construction of the
Dhamra port at the mouth of the Dhamra river on its northern bank. Significantly, this area is only few kilometres from the boundary of the Bhitarkanika National Park and about 20 kilometres north of the most important of the turtle nesting beaches. When first proposed in 1988, Bhitarkanika was spread over an area of 367 sq. km, which included
ecologically sensitive areas like the site of the Dhamra port project. When the national park was finally notified in 1998, however, the area was reduced by more than half, to 145 sq. km. and the port site was now outside the boundaries. Significantly, this was just about the time that the proposal for the port here came up. For the development of the minor port at Dhamra (see box), a huge investment of about Rs. 1,500 crores has been proposed, with the bank being the lead financier. The port project is being promoted by International Seaports Ltd., a company in which industrial major Larson & Toubro Ltd holds a third of the stake. Work was to have started in the year 2000, and for obvious reasons, environmentalists and wildlife enthusiasts have been opposing it.

Recent studies have shown congregations of nesting turtles six kilometers offshore and 12 km south of Gahirmatha. Turtle researchers point out that this is probably just a fraction of the total population and there will be other aggregations, both south and north of Gahirmatha. Fear was expressed
that the construction work and the increase in shipping traffic here could devastate offshore turtle congregations. Increased illumination in the night too would disorient turtles and hatchlings and prevent them from finding their way to the sea after they hatch. Concern has been expressed internationally as well, which includes the International Sea Turtle
Symposium that was held in Florida, U.S. in 2000. Additionally, this area has a dense cover of mangrove forests. A task force constituted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) reported that areas having mangroves sustained substantially less damage in the coastalbelt of Orissa
during the “super cyclone” of 1999. This clearly emphasises the importance of mangroves in protecting the coasts from natural calamities. Following this, the ministry released nearly Rs. One crore for the implementation of two management action plans for mangroves; Rs.46.50 lakhs in 1999-2000 for
the mangroves in Bhitarkanika and Mahanadi and Rs.55.75 lakhs in 2000-01 for the Subernrekha, Dhamra and Devi mangroves.

It has been estimated that more than 2,500 hectares of mangrove forests, primarily in the Paradip-Dhamra belt were destroyed in the 1960s when the Paradip port was constructed. This area has since emerged as the most
cyclone-prone zone. According to official sources, out of the total 200 sq km of mangrove forest in the Mahanadi delta, only about 30 sq. km is left. These concerns have also been largely neglected in the present project and it is most likely that the port at Dhamra will only aggravate this problem.

A combination of factors, both environmental and financial, led to the abandoning of the project in 2000 and there was a collective sigh of relief all around.

Significantly, one of the key players and financiers of the port project in Dhamra is the ICICI Bank. The inauguration of the GGP seemed to indicate that the bank was willing to lead from the front and that it was sincere and honest when speaking about corporate environment responsibility and sensitivity to the environment, wildlife habitats and bio-diversity. The
signal from the bank seemed to be, “We shall not support any such industrial or infrastructure development activity in the sensitive Bhitarkanika-Gahirmatha environment”. It therefore came as a rude shock when The Hindu Business Line carried a report titled “Construction work at Dhamra port expected to begin soon” on December 20, 2003 (only about a month after
the initiation of the GGP). “The port’s private promoter, International Seaports Ltd,” the report said, “… is working towards achieving financial closure during the first quarter of 2004 …. Construction of the Rs. 1,500-crore port project, on the basis of build, own and transfer (BOT), was
supposed to begin in November 2000, but was delayed due to initial environment-related problems. Later, the lead financier, ICICI, suggested certain modifications to be made in the concession agreement to improve the bankability of the project … .”

A few months earlier, The Business Standard, had reported (“Dhamra port project revived”, June 25, 2003), that the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) had also decided to promote the port project. The NMDC gesture, that reportedly gave a fresh lease of life to the project, is linked to the allotment of iron ore mines to the company in the Bimalgarh
area of Sundergarh district. The report went on to say that, “… the Orissa government has modified the concession agreement for Dhamra port incorporating the suggestions of Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI), the lead financier, to improve its bankability. ICICI said the changes would protect investments in the project.” Work on land acquisition for the project too is reportedly going on. The website of the Industrial and Infrastructure Development
Corportation of Orissa (IDCO), the only statutory agency in the State to procure land exclusively for industrial/infrastructure development projects, reports that it has already initiated the process of the acquisition of 4,000 acres in Bhadrak district to facilitate the project.

One would have thought that the bank would immediately issue a clarification in the context of these reports saying that it was not interested in this project anymore as it was committed to the GGP. It has, however, neither done this, nor has it clarified its official position on thesame. By the looks of it then, the project is once again on, with the key issue being the
“bankability of the project”. Nothing about the environment, nothing about the turtles, nothing that would indicate that the ICICI was also supporting a programme about green governance and corporate environment responsibility.

On the coast of Orissa meanwhile, oblivious of the intentions and actions of the humans they share this earth with, the Olive Ridleys have started nesting once again this year. This is just the right time for the corporates involved, especially the bank involved, to live up to the “green corporate” image that it has sought to create for itself. Otherwise, the turtles, when they come back next year or the year after, might well be swimming into a drastically altered, even devastated reality.

Note: (The map shows the patterns of four turtles which were fitted with satellite transmitters when they came to nest at a site at the mouth of the Devi river, which is even further south of Gahirmata. One turtle (marked in blue) travelled north immediately after nesting. This specimen was tagged on
April 18, 2001, and on April 30, was at a point that is nearly 21?longitude. The coordinates of Dhamra are 20.48?N and 86.56?E, which indicates that this turtle had passed this spot. It is important to note that this specimen was tagged at Devi and not at Gahirmata, which is just south of the port site. Now that thousands of turtles are nesting on these sands and without doubt swim and congregate opposite to and north of the port site at Dhamra, is proof enough of how they will be impacted once the port comes up).

Minor port, major trouble

IN 1994 the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) issued its “Environment Impact Assessment” (EIA) notification. Meant as a tool to ensure that developmental projects did not ride rough shod over environmental concerns it listed 29 (later increased to 30) industrial and developmental activities that needed environmental clearance from the
Government of India. Schedule I of the notification contains this list of projects. Point 3 reads … ports, harbours, airports (except minor ports and harbours).

Why an exception was made for minor ports is not very clear. What is now clear, however, is that this exception has created one of the biggest loopholes in environmental legislation in the country, allowing in the process, for the development of at least a 100-odd such “minor ports” along the country’s coastline. Many like Dhamra in fact are located in areas that are ecologically extremely sensitive.

Presumably, the reason to exclude a minor port from environment clearance is that it is “minor”, investment is limited, land requirements are negligible, not many people will be affected, and the overall environmental impact will
be minimal, if not negligible. Following this logic, environmental clearance to the Dhamra port project was given by the Ministry of Surface Transport, not even the MoEF.

The reality is however quite a different one. The difference between a major and a minor port, strangely, is not of size or investment, but one of jurisdiction alone. While the major ports (like Kandla, Cochin (Kochi), Chennai. Paradip and Vishakapatnam) are under the Central Government, minor
ports are in the charge of state governments. The proposed port at Dhamra is to be developed over an area of nearly 1,000 acres, and another 3,000 acres are being acquired for other project related development activities. The proposed investment too is about Rs. 1,500 crores.This kind of investment and land requirement is definitely not minor, and neither the impact – environmentally and ecologically. Legally, however, this “major” port is a minor one and therefore exempt from the provisions of the EIA notification.

***ACTION ALERT!!!***

Please take a few minutes to understand and then lend your name to the Sanctuary campaign to stop the Dhamra Port and save the endangered olive ridley turtles of Orissa. You can take the first step by writing a polite letter along the lines suggested and posting it to the parties concerned. In case you wish to, you could send them an email c/o Sanctuary at cree@sanctuaryasia.com with your complete name, address and affiliation details etc and we will undertake to deliver the letter to the concerned parties.

Bangladesh

$1.7b shrimp export earning target fixed

NewAge, April 3, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

www.newagebd.com

Country’s shrimp sector has set an ambitious target over five years to raise export earnings to Tk 10,000 crore or about $1.7 billion, five times up from the present annual exports, by 2008.
The Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association believes that the target can be achieved if the sector gets government support in enhancing yield, maintaining quality and coping with external challenges and shocks.
It calls for an integrated programme with specific year-wise targets to bring the shrimp farming areas under modern management to increase yield and exports.
The association proposed a special fund in the coming budget to give legal support to the shrimp sector in case of any anti-dumping measures taken by other countries. Recently, the US has imposed anti-dumping duty on shrimp import from some Asian countries, including India.
It also suggested that the government restrict import of fish feed to keep exportable shrimp free from antibiotic and other chemicals.
It will put forward a set of proposals to the national committee on export affairs, the highest body on export policy headed by the prime minister, which is set to meet on April 11.
Frozen seafood, mainly shrimp, is the second largest export earning sector of Bangladesh that fetched Tk 1,863 crore or $321 million in the last fiscal year.
The association sought government’s support to set up at least three “shrimp estates” in Cox?s Bazar, Satkhira and Noakhali ? the three coastal districts, country’s main shrimp farming regions.
These exclusive zones, if set up, would help increase the yield as well as implement a “seal of quality” programme for ensuring exports of quality shrimp.
Taking into account the ban on export of shrimp with antibiotic and other chemicals, the association felt that the government should restrict imports of fish feeds which often contain antibiotic, nitro-furan and some other harmful substances.
Apprehending similar anti-dumping cases like the US’s shrimp apex body filing against imports from six countries, the Bangladesh frozen food association stressed the need for a budgetary fund to give back-up support to the shrimp sector.
Thai government has already created a 50 million bath fund to fight anti-dumping cases, it cited. Southern Shrimp Alliance of the USA filed anti-dumping cases against shrimp exports from Thailand, Vietnam, India, China, Ecuador and Brazil.
“It is unlikely that Bangladesh will come under the mischief of such cases in future,” a shrimp industry leader said. The US is the largest single destination of Bangladesh’s shrimp consuming about 35 per cent of the total shrimp production.
Shrimp exports to the US amounted to around $80 million in the last fiscal.
US Ambassador Harry K Thomas said in Khulna on March 22 that Bangladesh could earn 1.5 billion dollar a year by exporting shrimp by 2008 if it produces quality shrimp complying with the international food safety standards.
Around 35,000 tonnes of shrimp are exported on an average every year and the volume can be raised up to 300,000 tonnes just through proper utilization of shrimp fries.
Local hatcheries produce about 400 crore fries annually, but very little of it is used in unplanned and conventional methods of shrimp farming, the association says.
Leaders of the shrimp export association pointed out that the country’s shrimp production still remained as low as 200 kg per hectare while international average is more than 1000 kg per hectare.
Disease-free post larva (PL) and controlled shrimp cultivation will help Bangladesh boost annual shrimp exports by $20 million to $100 million by 2008, they said.
The USAID-supported Agro-based Industries and Technology Development Project (ATDP), recently established an international standard PCR laboratory at Cox’s Bazar to help farmers identify White Spot Virus in PL.

From: Zakir Kibria

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Shrimp Culture: ‘Ecologically suicidal, economically unjust’

THE DAILY STAR

Shrimp culture is ecologically suicidal, socially impoverishing and economically unjust, said the speakers at a workshop yesterday.

They said saline water for shrimp cultivation has not only destroyed the fertility of agricultural land but also damaged the bio-diversity and shrunk traditional poultry breeding.

The two-day workshop on ‘Terrorism-based trade, Democracy and Rights of the Poor’ was organised by Nijera Kori, an NGO for rural development, at the WVA auditorium in the city.

Prof. Abul Barkat of Dhaka University presented a paper on ‘Commercial shrimp culture, imperiled ecology and rights of the poor’ at the opening session.

In the paper, he explored how salinity and terror inflicted by owners of the gher (enclosed shrimp culture ground) in the south-west region, have deprived the marginal people of their livelihood by displacing them from their ancestral homesteads.

“Due to various malpractice in commercial shrimp culture, the land-less people have also lost their right to Khas land,” said Prof Barkat.

Two crore people of 15 districts in the country’s coastal area have become the victims of this unjust economy, he added.

Prof Barkat said shrimp culture occupied 20,000 hectares of land in 1979-80 while a total of 410,000 hectares of land came under this business in 1996-97.

He said a shrimp gher owner earns a net profit of Tk 200, 000 per acre of land whereas a marginal farmer, who owns the land, gets Tk 4 to 6 thousand.

Rahela Begum, who came from Khulna to take part in the workshop, said, “The crop field has lost fertility because of shrimp culture which thrives on labour exploitation, muscle power and terrorism.”

“Women workers at the shrimp processing plants are subjected to serious health hazards and inhuman working conditions,” said Dr. Sadeka Halim of Dhaka University.

“As contractual labourers, these women often do not get wages month after month but they cannot raise their voices as the shrimp traders are highly influential,” she said.

Prof. ABM Faruk of Dhaka University said 32 percent of the country’s people depend on medicinal plants for treatment but salinity in the shrimp breeding grounds has wiped out these plants in Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira regions.

Prof. Ahmed Kamal of Dhaka University presided over the session attended by 65 participants including 42 land-less people, seven journalists and five lawyers.

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Sundarbans blaze rages on
Staff Correspondent, Khulna

The Daily Star, March 28, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

URL: THE DAILY STAR

The blaze that broke out last Wednesday in the Sundarbans engulfing compartment No. 27 under Dhanshagor station of Chandpai Range is yet to be doused.

The raging fire has burnt down over 4,000 trees of different species within two and a half kilometres area on the eastern wing of Sundarbans Forest Division (SFD).

The flames are spreading fast, affecting 50 more spots despite strenuous efforts by foresters and people living in neighbouring localities to put out the fire. Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Md Rafiqul Islam, who is in charge of the eastern wing of the SFD, however said the blaze has been extinguished, a claim eyewitnesses contradicted saying the situation is alarming. They added the inferno is likely to engulf several thousand trees with wind blowing over the forest at a speed of over 20 to 30 kilometres an hour.

Rafiq said the fire originated from torches (smoking devices) used for dislodging bees from the hives by unauthorised honey collectors. Hundreds of used torches and other objects have been recovered from the place of occurrence. Sources however said the fire originated from ovens used by unauthorised woodcutters for cooking.

Eyewitnesses Sufia, Yunus and Emdadul of Nishankhali village said fire has destroyed part of the forest covering an area of over three kilometres. Over 7,000 sundari, bain, passur and garan trees have been burnt to ashes, they said.

According to unconfirmed sources, a vested quarter set the trees on fire with the help of Mouals or honey collectors.

=======

Forest fire razes 2,000 trees in Sundarban
NewAge, March 28, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

A three-day devastating forest fire in east Sundarban of Khulna has raged to ground at least 2,000 trees of different varieties covering some two square kilometre of forest area, officials said Saturday.
The fire which was brought under control on Friday might have caused from kitchen or Mashal (torch) fire by the honey collectors in the deep forest of Sundarban, Rafiqul Islam Chowdhury, Assistant Conservator of Forest told New Age, adding among the raged trees were Sundari, Garan, Gewa and Singara.
He said the fire broke out on Wednesday at Nangla camp area under Dhan Sagar Station.
Hundreds of people using buckets and jars rushed and joined the forest officials and staff in trying to control the bush fire after mikes of a nearby mosque were used to alert the locals against the fire.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

————————————-

Tk 10,000 cr shrimp export earning fixed
NewAge, April 2, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) has fixed the target for earning Taka 10,000 crore from export of shrimps and other fishes to global markets by the year 2008.
Raising the issue at the annual general meeting of the association held Wednesday, its leaders drew the attention of government, donor agencies and other trade bodies to help realise its Vision-2008 programme.
The BFFEA has already presented a concept paper on the Vision-2008 to the Prime Minister seeking the government support and assistance from other agencies.
The meeting also unanimously decided to make equal distribution of raw materials, which are now in short supply, to avoid unhealthy competition among exporters. They opined that the government might introduce a quota system in this regard.
The BFFEA leaders welcomed the government decision to give cash incentives to the exporters saying they would put the money to produce more shrimps for more exports.
They sought the finance minister’s support to disburse the overdue cash subsidy at a time most exporters suffering from liquidity crisis.
President of the association Quazi Monirul Haq was in the chair. Its vice presidents MMA Salam and Nazir Ahmad, secretary general Mahmudul Hasan and former presidents Salahudidn Ahmed, Kazi Shahnewaz and Md Golam Mostafa spoke.
Some former secretary generals of the association including Md Aminullah, Maqsudddur Rahman, Manzoor Ahmed
and Shariful Islam, and existing executive committee members SM Amjad Hossain and Akhtar Ahmed BP spoke at the meeting.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

————————————-

Cairn won’t explore Sundarbans

URL: THE DAILY STAR

Cairn Energy group has no plan to go for a mineral resources exploration in the Sundarbans, Cairn officials categorically said yesterday.

While addressing a press conference on the occasion of the takeover of Shell’s assets in Bangladesh, Cairn officials said the largest mangrove in the world is not the place they are interested in.

The recent newspaper reports on the company’s Sundarbans exploration the officials described as baseless. They also categorically denied having any intention to export gas from Bangladesh.

“We are just taking over the assets of Shell to run the business on the domestic market, not to export,” said Ian Halstead, general manager of Cairn Energy Bangladesh, responding to a query.

He admitted that the domestic demand of gas has increased significantly.

Officials of oil companies Shell and Cairn told reporters that Bangladesh government has approved the transfer of operatorship and sale of Shell’s upstream assets to the companies of Cairn Energy group recently.

Earlier on August 4 last year, Cairn Energy PLC announced its plan to acquire Shell’s upstream interests in Bangladesh comprising 37.5 percent and 45 percent operated interests in the block 16 Sangu gas field and the exploration blocks 5 and 10.

Managing Director Zaffar Chida and Director ABM Siraj Uddowlah of Shell Bangladesh attended the briefing.

Shell’s decision to divest its assets in Bangladesh fits the overall strategic development of the group’s global portfolio. Cairn is Shell’s existing partner in Bangladesh. Shell officials hope Cairn will run the business to proper environmental, social and operational standard in the best interest of Bangladesh.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

E. ASIA

China

Dear Alfredo,

From Liu Yi,
Mangrove project of Xiamen University greenwild association

Mangrove prospection in China

In 1950s, China had a mangrove resource of over 50,000 hectares. The number declined to 15,000 in 2000; that is, China has lost 70% mangrove area during the last 50 years. What’s worse, remaining mangroves have a deteriorating forest structure, some mangrove area have became shrubs or waste swamps which have little biological and ecological characteristics. The large-scale
vanishing and deteraioration has seriously endangered Chinese mangrove ecosystem. At the same time, many species, which somewhat lean on the mangroves for surviving and reproduction, have lost their habitats. All
of these have gravely weakened protective function of the mangrove.

What happened to Chinese mangrove:

1960s-1970s Campaign of “Changing the sea into farmland” which was proclaiming by chairman Mao.
1980s aquiculture (reclaiming the swamps or constructing pools at the seaside) 1990s- Urbanization such as construction of harbors and dock roads

Chinese mangrove also have to meet many other problems which cause deterioration: Survival crisis conducted by algae excessive propagation which due to sea-water nutrition enrichment, severe pollution, over-utilization;
insect pest and bird hunting.

Take Xiamen for instance, mangrove area has declined from 4,800 acres to 400 acres during last 50 years, and the number keeps decreasing. The large-scale urbanizational projects like Xinglin Circum-island Road, Haicang Street,
Jimei Seashore Road, which have finished or still under construction, occupy mangrove habitats and also affect mangrove within 10 meters; the remaining mangroves are dying slowly according to water-fluid change brought about by those projects.

What can China do in the future: improve citizen awareness of mangrove protection, develop replanting projects, consummate mangrove protection and
management system.

China has 7 national natrual reservation for mangrove at present time, more reservations are at a provicne-level or regional. But few are opperated in a appropriate way, besides, quality of managers in some mangrove reservations is not as good as required.

Manrove project group of Greenwild association in Xiamen University are carrying out activities, including publicity of all kinds, formation of “Mangrove publicity and protection network” in Fujian province and all over
China, training natural interpreters, promoting citizen awareness, to fulfill the eventual goal of scientific mangagement and nursing of mangrove; meanwhile, we are trying very hard on scientific study of afforestation and we are replanting mangroves on our own.

It is only the begnning of our work. We still have a long way to go and call for everybody to contribute his or her effort.

From: mangrove@greenwild.org

LATIN AMERICA
Honduras

Case: Destruction and contamination of coastal wetlands of the Gulf of Fonseca, Department of Choluteca and Valle, Republic of Honduras

Accusers of the contradictory:

Committee for the Defense and Development of the Flora and Fauna of the Gulf of Fonseca (CODDEFFAGOLF)

Against:

International Finance Corporation of the World Bank, Government of the Republic of Honduras, Granjas Marinas San Bernardo and El Faro.

FACTS:

In accordance with the accusers:

1. The wetlands of the Gulf of Fonseca in the south zone of Honduras, declared RAMSAR SITE 1000th, are formed predominantly by mangrove forests, lagoons and estuaries that are the refuge of migratory and not migratory birds, nesting places for turtles, mollusks, crustaceans and fishes. Besides this is the main source of income for the people that live in the zone, basically artisanal fishing, cattle raising and firewood extraction for domestic use. The population of the south zone of Honduras, particularly the one located in the Department of Choluteca is categorized, in accordance with the PNUD (index of Human Development, 1999), as one of the poorest zones of the Republic, in spite of the incorporation of development plans based on private shrimp exploitation and financed by international financial organizations since 1972 until now.

2. In the file of the demand there is constancy that producers dedicated to coastal-marine activities such as traditional fishing, aquacultors in the zone of the Gulf of Fonseca, are affiliated to the Committee for the Defense and Development of the Flora and Fauna of the Gulf of Fonseca (CODDEFFAGOLF), that is the organizations that demands in the present case.

3. The production of shrimp by part of the industry and particularly by the companies Granjas Marinas San Bernardo and El Faro, has seriously impacted wetlands and the ecological environment.

Environmental Level

4. The pruning of mangroves, the destruction of lagoons and the consequent lose of biodiversity that surrounds and lives in this kind of ecosystem.

5. The indiscriminate extraction of shrimp larvae started from 1973 to 2002.

6. The contamination of waters is attributed to animal and agrochemical wastes that enterprises apply and that are of forbidden use, provoking with it risk to human health and the death of other marine species.

7. The concession of lands in protected areas as La Berberia, RAMSAR SITE 1000th.

8. Expansion of shrimp farms in times of moratoria, giving not importance to national laws.

9. The autochthonous people, men and women, dedicated to traditional fishing, have been dislodged of their land, even of the beach that is of public use.

10. The population dedicates mainly to artisanal fishing, and they have always sustained themselves that way, in order to subsist with their children.

11. The people has denounced before the competent institutions of the country related to shrimp production, the damages caused by the companies El Faro y San Bernardo but have not gotten any satisfactory result.

12. This form of production has the support of international finance institutions as the World Bank, no respecting the environmental dispositions that this kind of organization itself has.

WE CONSIDER:

1. The politic Constitution of Honduras, the International Treaties such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights, the International Pact about economical, social and cultural rights, the World Letter of the Nature, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the Stockholm Declaration, the Agreement on Biologic Biodiversity, among others, establish that men and women have the right to the common patrimony of all human beings, the natural resources.

2. In the file surge the proofs of the nonfullfilment of the legal dispositions imputable to the authorities of the Republic of Honduras.

3. The way in which the companies El Faro and San Bernardo have developed in the Gulf of Fonseca, has affected the biologic diversity.

4. Men and women that inhabit this zone suffer of absolute poverty when displaced and deprived of opportunities of job and life.

5. In the zone prevails a climate of uncertainty caused by the lack of attention to life or other omissions by part of the competent authorities.

Taking into account the facts and considerations that precede, the jury of the Central American Water Tribunal

RESOLVES:

1. To indicate emphatically the responsibility of the shrimp company Granjas Marinas San Bernardo for contamination and the shrimp company El Faro for damages to the wetlands of the Gulf of Fonseca.

2. To censor the Government of the Republic of Honduras for the nonfulfilment of its international obligations that are derived from the RAMSAR Convention for the protection of wetlands, especially those that serve as refuge areas for migratory birds.

3. In solidarity make responsible the IFC / World Bank for financing projects that have had serious environmental consequences in the ecosystems and the population of the Gulf of Fonseca.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. To the Government of the Republic of Honduras: in execution of the Constitution of the Republic, of the General Environmental Law and other applicable ones and the International Conventions, to make an environmental audit of the shrimp farming industry of the Gulf of Fonseca in order to take urgent measures in function of the establishment and sustainable development of the aquaculture activity.

2. To establish a moratorium that allows ordering the shrimp farming activity so that legal dispositions and the sustainability of this system of production are respected parting from the creation of an inclusive organizational structure and the consensus of the groups involved in this activity.

3. To carry out the demarcation of the Areas of shrimp exploitation in respect to the legal dispositions on the protection of coastal marine areas, in the smallest possible term through the competent government organizations.

4. To the World Bank: to abstain from financing the expansion and/or the establishment of new shrimp industries in order to help to the recovery of natural habitat of the wetlands of the Gulf of Fonseca.

5. To the Environment Ministry: not to concede new environmental licenses on the Protected Areas of the Gulf of Fonseca.

6. To the Government of the Republic: to implant, the soonest possible, a program of development addressed to the economical reactivation of the population that has been economically affected.

7. To the competent authorities: to advance in the investigations and actions where there is evidence of environmental damages caused against the ecological patrimony of Honduras.

8. To the competent authorities: to protect the human and environmental rights of the people in execution of the American Convention on Human Rights.

It is given in the city of San Jose, March 19, 2004.

Mexico

Mexico

Greenpeace says regulations protecting Mexico’s mangrove swamps in danger

ASSOCIATED PRESS, March 31, 2004

MEXICO CITY – Greenpeace volunteers in orange jumpsuits placed chain saws and sawdust at the entrance to Mexico’s Environment Department on Wednesday, accusing the agency of failing to protect mangrove swamps forests and favoring business interests.

Greenpeace Mexico Director Alejandro Calvillo said the department plans to do away with or weaken regulations created last year to protect Mexico’s coastal mangrove swamps.

Calvillo said the forecast about the regulations was based on information from Greenpeace sources inside and outside the Environment Department, declining to offer specific contacts. Contacted Wednesday, the Environment Department did not immediately respond to statements by Greenpeace.

Under pressure from the advance of coastal development, Mexico’s biologically diverse mangrove forests prevent coastal erosion, provide crucial habitat for marine life and help sustain reefs on the Caribbean Sea.

“During no other administration in the life of the Environment Department have there been people who represent business interests in positions of fundamental importance to the agency,” said Calvillo. “There’s an inclination to favor investment at all cost above the environmental regulations.”

In September, President Vicente Fox replaced Environment Secretary Victor Lichtinger – considered nonpartisan expert – with a stalwart from his National Action Party. Alberto Cardenas, the first National Action governor of Jalisco state, was named head of the environment secretary.

The shake-up at the department came after a poor showing by National Action in July congressional midterm elections that led Fox to acknowledge that many Mexicans were disappointed with his government.

Enforcement of existing mangrove protections already has been relaxed, according to Calvillo. He cited two development applications approved this year near the Caribbean resort city of Cancun.

Greenpeace protesters also hung a giant sign from the Semarnat building that said, “licenses available to destroy mangrove forests.”

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

CARIBBEAN

From Seaspan Newsletter, April 1, 2004

NEW EVIDENCE ON DEATH OF CARIBBEAN CORAL REEFS
Caribbean coral reefs are deteriorating rapidly, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Ecology Letters (which also features the letter “Climate change, genotypic diversity and gene flow
in reef-building corals based on Australian reefs). Researchers analyzed cores to reconstruct the ecological history of a reef system in Jamaica. They found that the decline of coral in recent decades was
unprecedented in the last thousand years. “Ecologists are now realizing the full extent of damage to Caribbean reefs, with estimates running as high as an 80 percent loss of coral throughout the region since 1980,” said Richard Aronson, one of the study’s authors. “New coral diseases, hurricanes, overfishing of plant-eating fish, and several other kinds
of disturbance combined to convert Jamaican reefs from vibrant communities to seaweed-covered coral graveyards, and this is the first
time it’s happened in at least a thousand years.” To read the report, go to:

BLACKWELL-SYNERGY

Source: EurekAlert, March 19, 2004, www.wurekalert.org

From: saltman@rsmas.miami.edu

STORIES/ISSUES
Dead Zones Stir Live Debate

MSNBC staff and news service reports
Updated: 1:12 p.m. ET March 29, 2004The number of oxygen-deprived “dead zones” in the world’s oceans has been increasing since the 1970s and is now nearly 150, threatening fisheries as well as humans who depend on fish, the U.N. Environment Program announced Monday in unveiling its first-ever Global Environment Outlook Year Book.

These “dead zones” are caused by an excess of nitrogen from farm fertilizers, sewage and emissions from vehicles and factories. In what experts call a “nitrogen cascade, the chemical flows untreated into oceans and triggers the proliferation of plankton, which in turn depletes oxygen in the water.

While fish might flee this suffocation, slow moving, bottom-dwelling creatures like clams, lobsters and oysters are less able to escape.

“Humankind is engaged in a gigantic, global experiment as a result of the inefficient and often overuse of fertilizers, the discharge of untreated sewage and rising emissions from vehicles and factories, program executive
director Klaus Toepfer said in a statement accompanying the report.

>From small to vast zones Toepfer noted that 146 dead zones — most in Europe and the U.S. East Coast — range from under a square mile to up to 45,000 square miles. “Unless urgent
action is taken to tackle the sources of the problem,” he said, “it is likely to escalate rapidly.”

The program noted that some of the earliest recorded dead zones were in Chesapeake Bay, the Baltic Sea, Scandinavia’s Kattegat Strait, the Black Sea and the northern Adriatic Sea.

The most infamous zone is in the Gulf of Mexico, where the Mississippi River dumps fertilizer runoff from the Midwest.

Others have appeared off South America, China, Japan, southeast Australia and New Zealand, the program said.

Preventive measures
The report was released in Jeju, South Korea, where governments from around the world are sending officials this week for a Global Ministerial Environment Forum.

The program noted preventive steps can be taken, citing these examples:

European nations along the Rhine agreed to halve discharged nitrogen levels, reducing the discharge into the North Sea. Planting new forests and grasslands will help soak up excess nitrogen, keeping it out of waterways.
Requiring vehicles to reduce nitrogen emissions. Fostering alternative energy sources that are not based on burning fossil
fuels. Better sewage treatment would reduce nutrient discharges to coastal waters.

Global warming warning

But the report also noted new research that indicates global warming could aggravate the problem. Should humans double emissions of carbon dioxide, a key gas that many scientists fear is warming the Earth, that could change
rainfall patterns, according to the research.

“In some areas, this in turn could lead to a marked increase in the levels of run-off from rivers into the seas,” the U.N. program said. “They calculate that dissolved oxygen levels in the northern Gulf of Mexico, triggered by an increased discharge from the Mississippi River basin of 20 percent and a climb in temperature of up to four degrees Centigrade, could fall by 30 to 60 percent.”

The U.N. report is online.

(c) 2004 MSNBC Interactive
MORE FROM ENVIRONMENT

From: mskladany@iatp.org

————————————-

ACTION ALERT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND CULTURAL ACTIVISTS AND MOVEMENTS

GLOBAL BAN ON GM-TREES -
SIGN THE PETITION FOR UN
at the address:
www.elonmerkki.net/forestforum

We are asking for your participation in the campaign urging the UN to ban genetically modified trees. In the next three months, this dynamic Internet action will be focused on collecting as many signatures as possible for a
petition to be presented to the UN Forum on Forests in Geneva next May.

The campaign has now been widely welcomed all over the world. The list of groups and campaigners having signed the petition so far includes the World Rainforest Movement, Friends of the Earth in different countries, Scottish Green Party, The Forest Action
Network- and a lot of other organisations and individuals around the world.

People?s Forest Forum Action group
contact: forestforum@elonmerkki.net

Press release 10 February 2004/Updated 18 February 2004

Internet petition for the UN
NGOs are demanding a global ban on genetically modified trees

A campaign launched in January by Finnish environmental groups protesting against genetically modified trees is drawing subscribers around the world. The campaign has now been widely welcomed all over the world. The list of groups and campaigners having signed the petition so far includes the World Rainforest Movement, Friends of the
Earth in different countries, Scottish Green Party, The Forest Action Network- and a lot of other organisations and individuals around the world. The petition will be presented to the UN Forum on Forests in Geneva next May.

The campaign is complemented by an Internet forum for discussions on the world?s
forests, forest related problems and ways to solve them.

Member of the Finnish Parliament, Heidi Hautala (green) opened the discussion on the People?s Forest Forum. Supporting the petition for a global ban on GM-trees she writes: -The petition highlights a worrying
trend by governments to forget one global task at the cost of the other. It is necessary to alert the concerned citizens, scientists and civil society groups worldwide.

-We hope that we can go together to the UN Forum on Forests in Geneva next May with a large and impressive delegation backed by a massive list of subscribers, says Riitta Wahlstr?m, chair of The Union of Ecoforestry in Finland.

Further information:
www.elonmerkki.net/forestforum

ANNOUNCEMENTS
RAMSAR Website Linked to MAP

Ramsar has made an index page of Ramsar material on mangrove issues, as they’ve recently done on coral reefs and peatlands, and in one part of it I tried to put a small list of external links on mangrove issues, including MAP.

From Dwight Peck dwight.peck@bluewin.ch , www.dpeck.info

————————————-

This excerpt was taken from the PEW Center on Global Climate Change E-Alert-
April 2004.

CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS AT RISK

Coral reefs provide important resources and direct economic benefits to the large and growing human populations in low-latitude coastal zones. But
development, over-fishing, and pollution have contributed to a global loss approaching 25% of these valuable ecosystems. This new report, “The
Potential Contributions of Climate Change to Coral Reef Ecosystems,” analyzes the current state of knowledge regarding coral reef communities and outlines the likely impacts of climate change to coral reef systems both in U.S. waters and around the world over the next century.

Read more about the effects of climate change on coral reefs.

From: Michelle Wilde

————

IIRR International Courses

The International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) offers international training courses that are designed for development practitioners and leaders from around the world to meet and learn from each other.? The courses focus on practical field experiences and participatory approaches drawing on IIRR’s more than 40 years of conducting international training and 80 years of rural development experience and the experiences of participants, and of other development organizations.

IIRR works with the rural poor in developing countries to improve their lives by building on their unique assets and strengths. IIRR achieves this through field research, training, publications and field programs with communities and in partnership with other development organizations. Rural reconstruction is a development strategy first advanced by the mass education movement founded by Dr. Y.C. James Yen in China in 1923.? The strategy is sustainable, integrated and people-cente

From: Monette Pacia

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
CORAL Duscussion Board

The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is proud to announce the launching of the CORAL Discussion Board. We hope this site will make a significant contribution to global coral reef protection by stimulating dialogue on a variety of issues related to the conservation of these dynamic yet
threatened marine ecosystems. The discussion board will allow individuals, organizations, businesses and government agencies within the fields of marine conservation, park management, science, recreation and tourism to seek technical advice and share lessons learned with others in a global network of communication.

While there are a wide variety of marine conservation issues that can be discussed, appropriate topics may include things such as mooring buoy projects, coral reef monitoring, artificial reefs, educational materials and
programs, sustainable tourism, coral park management and general conservation initiatives. If you have topics that you would like to see addressed within a global network of peers, or if you need technical assistance or advice on how to better protect the reefs of your local
region, then we encourage you to click on the link below to register as a member and join the discussion. Most especially, if you have conservation success stories and practices that others can learn from, we would like for
you to share your knowledge with others in this forum.

 

From Rich Wilson, The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL)
rwilson@coral.org

AQUACULTURE CORNER
U.S. Salmon Network ussalmonnetwork@iatp.org

Fish farms slammed as feed-lot operations

The Vancouver Sun, 02 Apr 2004
Byline: Glenn Bohn

When Daniel Pauly came to Vancouver a decade ago, he promised himself he would remain publicly silent about the health of fisheries close to his new home.
That resolution lasted about five years.

Now, the fisheries scientist is a vocal critic of the brand of aquaculture that produces $300 million worth of Atlantic salmon in net pens in the fjords and bays of B.C.’s Pacific coastline.

From Pauly’s perspective, there are two types of aquaculture.

The first type — he calls it Aquaculture A — is based upon the animals that feed on plants and nutrient-rich waste. That’s the kind of aquaculture the UBC fisheries professor saw in Indonesia, where flooded rice paddies become duck-fertilized fish farms for carp. He said that kind of traditional aquaculture turns algae, plants and other waste into fish food, which provides more seafood for people in developing nations. Those people need to eat more animal protein because their diet relies too much on rice and other carbohydrates.

Pauly contrasted that type of fish farm with what he calls Aquaculture B — the kind of salmon fish farming pioneered in Norway and exported to B.C.

He said the fish farms here are “industrial feed-lot operations” that are feeding fish to fish. Pauly noted that fish meal rendered from fish makes up between one quarter and one third of the food given to salmon, sea bass, tuna and other farm-raised fish. The problem, Pauly said, is that the fish that are being ground up and turned into fish meal are not “junk” fish that would be “wasted” anyway.

Pauly noted that fish meal is often made from sardines, anchovies, mackerel and cod-like species — all of which, he said, are eaten by people in countries like Spain, Italy and Germany.

“It is not true that these are fish that nobody would eat anyway,” he said. The fish that is ground up is better used as human food. Humanity has less fish, the more salmon that is raised.”

From: mskladany@iatp.org

————————————-

Ridge calls fish farming a national security matter
SPOTLIGHT: RESOURCES
LAINE WELCH
FISHERIES

(Published: March 27, 2004)

ADN

It was standing room only recently at Centennial Hall in Sitka, where
residents turned out in droves to hear the latest moves by the U.S.
government to allow open ocean aquaculture, or OOA, in federal waters from 3 miles to 200 miles offshore….

Another well-known fish farming critic, Anne Mosness of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, said the government’s intention to lease rights to the water column is not consistent with the Public Trust Doctrine, which says that states have an obligation to protect the public interest from any use that would substantially impair that trust….

From: mskladany@iatp.org

Late Friday News, 134th Ed., 22 March 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 134th Edition of the Late Friday News

Note: Invasive species are a major cause of extinctions, second only to habitat destruction, and they exact a cost of approximately $120 billion per year in the United States alone, according to Lori Williams, executive director of the National Invasive Species Council (NISC), a cross-agency council formed in 1999 by executive order from President Clinton.

Thought/Concern: Many aquaculture ventures utilize non-native species in their operations, and these farmed species often escape into the wild. Those that escape and survive become invasive species, and their threat to the natural ecosystem is still not known or studied.

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 132nd Edition, 22 March 2004
FEATURE STORY
An Intrinsic Problem With Shrimp Farm Certification

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched
MAP Toolkit Program – Improved Cookstoves
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

AFRICA
Nigeria
***ACTION ALERT!!!***
Shell Must Take Responsibility For Its Oil Spills
CHEVRON MAY BE LIABLE FOR MURDER & HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand
THREAT OF US PUNITIVE DUTIES: Shrimp-farmers give up, switch businesses
Fisherfolk Coalition Forms
Chinese dams upstream blamed for drastic decline in fish stock

Vietnam
Shrimp farms fight to meet demand as prices soar

S. ASIA
India
Hope along the Gujarat coastline
Coringa mangrove vegetation changes in last two decades:
Bangladesh
Tigers kill 58 people in Sundarbans last year

OCEANIA
GREAT BARRIER REEF IS DOOMED, SAYS REPORT

Australia
LATIN AMERICA

Brazil
Shrimp – New Source of Tension with U.S.

Honduras
VERDICT OF THE CENTRAL AMERICAN WATER TRIBUNAL

STORIES/ISSUES
CONGO: World’s Second Largest Rainforest to be Destroyed
UNDISTURBED AMAZONIAN FORESTS ARE CHANGING, SAY
SCIENTISTS
New Report Offers Insights Into TRIPS
Atomically modified rice in Asia

ANNOUNCEMENTS
World Bank’s Draft Principles for a Code of Conduct Require More Input From Local Communities
Bees and Forests
First ICWRP project: Mexico’s Sian Ka’an Ramsar Site
Journal To Address Enviro Management Issues
Earth Day – Let’s Take a Stand Together
World Ocean Day is June 8th!

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
Coastal Zone Asia-Pacific Conference in Brisbane Australia,

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Dynamic New Film Explores Impacts of Salmon Farming
69 per cent ‘prefer taste of wild salmon’ over farmed
Race underway to craft rules for U.S. fish farming
Profit ahead of conservation: tuna farming in the Mediterranean is out of control

AROUND THE CORNER
Regarding the spread of Nypah in the Niger Delta:

FEATURE STORY
An Intrinsic Problem With Shrimp Farm Certification

The fundamental flaw with individual certification is that the problem that makes aquaculture unsustainable is NOT at individual farm level only, but is primarily a result of crowding and loss of essential natural services due to cumulative effects and gross
conversion of ecologically important coastal systems. As long as farms are sited on intertidal lands, as long as they discharge into coastal waters that have limited capacity to receive organic wastes, they will cause problems and the activity will be difficult to harmonize with nature.

What matters is not individual compliance by farms but elimination of cummulative impacts. The total impact is not necessarily the sum of individual impacts.

For a certification scheme to work it has to be inserted within a regional context where the certification relates to the facts that the farm meets regional zoning and load requirements as well as operational (effluent) and process requirements. Farm by farm certifications do not mean much if the certification program does not consider cumulative effects.

There is something else that is of great concern The industry, in an effort to hide its problems and spotty performance places a lid on information about disease outbreaks. However, this information could be of great value in ascertaining where conditions have reached the limit for natural systems to buffer impacts (and disease). If this information was made available, better
regional and landscape level assessments could be made that would be ultimately benefitial to the industry.

Unfortunately this is not the case. Aquaculturists have opted to look away from the threat of disease rather than to confront it. They have opted to “live” in a make believe world in which problems would be solved through improved chemotherapeutic control and genetic engineering) This is tragic because the primary strategy to confront disease is not through chemotherapeutants and technology only but primarily through prevention.
This means maintaining healthy ponds as well as a healthy surrounding environment.

Many shrimp diseases appear not to lend themselves to chemoterapeutants because they are problems of a degraded environment (caused by crowding of farms on a landscape) and excessive stocking densities (an internal pond problem). Penaeid shrimp diseases can only be controlled by reducing
crowding of farms on a landscape, (through zoning and carrying capacity restrictions) and individual (farm-level) stocking and pond water quality control. A healthy landscape is a diverse landscape, not one devoted to a monoculture. That is a recipe for disaster. It is unfortunate that the industry seems blind to this and has failed to regulate itself.

From: Gil_Cintron@fws.gov

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

at: WEBSITE

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

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MAP Toolkit Program – Improved Cookstoves

After a successful partnership working at the CCRC Manado, JKTI (Indonesian Improved Cookstove Network, a member of ARECOP – Asian Regional Cookstove Program) and MAP will again partner to bring improved cookstoves, and appropriate charcoal technologies to North Sumatra.

MAP-Indonesia and JKTI signed an agreement today whereby JKTI will send two facilitators to North Sumatra to hold a four day improved cookstove workshop in the village of Kuala Indah. 20 participants from Kuala Indah and the nearby village of Gombus Laut will design and build fuel efficient cookstoves for home use, an institutional cookstove for processing palm sugar from coconut and nypah palm, as well as study carbonization of agricultural waste products for charcoal production. The workshop will be co-facilitated by Yayasan Bina Insani and Yayasan Sinar Kasih Desa, two NGO’s from North Sumatra who will be supported by JKTI to implement follow-up activities in the region.

This workshop will take place March 29-April , 2004. Then in early May, villagers who participated in the cookstove and charcoal workshop will share what they learned with members of the 10th In The Hands of the Fisherfolks workshop. A similar arrangement took place in Cambodia, between MAP and Cambodia Fuelwood Savings Program (also a member of ARECOP). In Cambodia however, improved cookstoves were demonstrated at the IHOF workshop without previous cookstove community development work in the region. In this case (in North Sumatra), MAP and JKTI were able to co-ordinate far enough in advance in order to initiate direct transfer of appropriate technology before the IHOF workshop takes place. In this way two new goals are accomplished 1)IHOF participants will be able to witness the cookstoves in use directly in a village setting and 2) MAP is contributing directly to community development in the IHOF workshop location.

We are excited about this working partnership between ARECOP members and MAP. After the Medan workshop, ARECOP and MAP will meet in order to create documentation on the relationship between improved cookstoves and mangroves, and also for strategic planning in terms of disseminating improved cookstove technology in mangrove regions.

From: “Ben Brown”

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ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

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Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

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Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. GROUNDSFORCHANGE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair TradeFederation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

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Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand

MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT,S
SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM
An experiential study of Thailand,s coastal resources
And the people who depend on them

A new exciting two-week experiential ecology program will provide an opportunity to learn about Thailand,s mangrove forests and other critical, but often threatened coastal wetlands. Visit Thailand’s first coastal national park located on the Gulf of Thailand and world famous Phang Nga Bay and the Island of Phuket on the Andaman Sea. Learn about the ecological importance of mangroves, the endangered Dugong and see water birds, languors, and mud skippers. Learn what the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) and a local Thai NGO are doing to conservemangroves. Stay with a fisherfolk family on an island in Phang Nga Bay and experience first hand their culture and efforts to protect the coastal resources on which that their livelihood depends. An extra John Gray SeaCanoe Eco-tour can be arranged at the tour end to view the amazing mangroves and caves of Phang Nga Bay from the vantage point of a kayak, a truly intimate marine experience. www.johngray-seacanoe.com/

Program Dates: July 4-17
Fee not including airfare or food: $800/person
For more information contact: Dr. Lamar Robert lamar@thailand.com
Mangrove Action Project’s website.

======
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is now being considered for the month of JSeptember 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

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John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first ofmany Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32°C
Humid.: 70 %
(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

AFRICA
Nigeria

***ACTION ALERT!!!***

Shell Must Take Responsibility For Its Oil Spills

Please write a letter of protest to Shell Oil regarding a recent massive oil leak in Niger Delta.

———-SAMPLE LETTER=========
Managing Director
Shell Petroleum Development Company
Freeman House
Lagos, Nigeria

Please be aware that news of the recent oil spill has reached the USA and is hurting the image of Shell among your largest consuming market. It is clear to us that Shell is profiting from resource extraction and thus bears full responsibility for costs and consequences of your behavior. If the spill was caused by poor security or poor community relations, it is still Shell’s
responsibility to leave the environment at least as clean as you found it and the neighbors at least as well off.

Please assure us that you will immediately take the following actions:
- Stop accusing the local people of sabotage and involve them in the
investigation process aimed at unraveling the actual cause of the spill. Be completely open with all information gathered internally and externally.
- Immediately commence a proper clean-up exercise in the Aghoro River and the adjoining creeks and other affected areas. Your response should be exactly the same as it would be if the spill occurred in a populated area of the USA.
- Pay adequate compensation to community people whose environment, fishing gadgets and source of livelihoods have been destroyed by the spill. The urgency of this need cannot be over-stressed. Human survival must be your paramount concern.

Your immediate response may help to prevent growing negative publicity and perhaps stem a boycott. Thank you.

Your Name & Address

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CHEVRON MAY BE LIABLE FOR MURDER & HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN NIGERIA

Late yesterday in San Francisco, a federal judge ruled that two ChevronTexaco corporations based in San Ramon, California may be held liable for the acts of their Nigerian subsidiary, when these companies allowed the subsidiary to hire notorious Nigerian military and police as a security force.

The lawsuit, called Bowoto v. ChevronTexaco, challenges a May 1998 incident which occurred in Nigeria’s remote southern Delta region, in which Chevron’s subsidiary, CNL, hired military “security forces,” some of whom were widely known as the “kill and go,” and those forces murdered and injured a number of unarmed Nigerians who were protesting Chevron’s environmental and business practices on the Parabe oil platform just off Nigeria’s coast. The lawsuit also challenges an incident which occurred approximately seven months later in which CNL’s “security forces” again killed and injured dozens of Nigerians, including women and children, when they opened fire without any warning from Chevron-leased helicopters on unsuspecting villagers and burned two remote fishing villages, Opia and Ikenya, to the ground. Finally, the case seeks to hold the Chevron companies liable for a media campaign of lies they orchestrated in an effort to convince both U.S. and Nigerian citizens that Chevron played no role in the killings and devastation at Parabe or at Opia and Ikenya.
Although Chevron argued that the case should be dismissed because corporate law protected it from any responsibility for the acts of its subsidiary, federal Judge Susan J. Illston denied Chevron’s summary judgment motion, finding that there was evidence from which a jury might conclude that CNL had acted as Chevron’s agent in these events, noting the “degree and content of communications” between CNL and Chevron, the “extraordinarily close relationship between the parents and subsidiary prior to, during and after the attacks,” as well as the evidence of a “cover-up of CNL’s activities” by Chevron. In ruling that Chevron was sufficiently intertwined with CNL’s policies and conduct to be held responsible for the murders and mayhem in these incidents, Judge Illston cited evidence that “more than 20% of Chevron’s earnings were accounted for by CNL’s production” and noted there was “significant evidence that [Chevron] viewed unrest in Nigeria as directly affecting CNL’s oil production.”

“In her ruling, Judge Illston has given notice to Chevron and corporations like it that they cannot just take the money and run, leaving dead bodies and a ruined environment for others to clean up,” said Theresa Traber, the attorney who argued the case for the Nigerians. “Corporate formalities were not designed to let companies like Chevron control their overseas subsidiaries so as to maximize their profits without any thought for human rights abuses and the environmental and other costs of doing business. Multinationals are going to have to learn that they must audit these ‘costs’ very closely or suffer the consequences.”

“ChevronTexaco, like all multinational oil companies, must get the message that it cannot participate in human rights abuses abroad,” added Barbara Hadsell, another of the plaintiffs’ attorneys. “They cannot, on the one hand, exploit the resources of an impoverished people and then escape the consequences when things go wrong. And if they try to, they will have to answer for their atrocities in U.S. courts.”

Plaintiffs in the case include the survivors of 8 individuals who were shot and killed during the incidents and four who were injured but survived. One of the survivors was a 9 year old girl at the time, who was strafed by gunfire when her village was burned to the ground.

The Bowoto v. Chevron court decision is now online.

From Cindy Cohn Cindy@eff.org

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand

THREAT OF US PUNITIVE DUTIES: Shrimp-farmers give up, switch businesses

THE NATION Published on Mar 22, 2004

Output, domestic prices down 60%-70%, exports cut in half

Shrimp will be in short supply in importing countries for four to six months as major exporting countries have stopped farming it due to the anti-dumping investigation initiated by the United States.

Exporters and shrimp-farmers’ associations share the view that shrimp exports will drop to Bt50 billion this year, half of the average Bt80 billion-Bt100 billion.

Exporters predict that their white shrimp will be slapped with countervailing duties of 6-10 per cent, making it less competitive in the American market.

Indonesia and Mexico are also cutting back.

Pong Visedpaitoon, chief operating officer of Charoen Pokphand Foods, said the US would face a shrimp shortage for six months.

“Although Indonesia and Mexico are not on the anti-dumping investigation list, they will be producing less due to environmental factors. Importers have placed orders, but they cannot ship them,” he said.

The fall in production by Indonesian shrimp farmers is due to low-quality equipment and infrastructure. Also the country cannot export to the US due to political issues over terrorism.

Mexico catches white shrimp from the sea rather than culturing it in ponds, so its production capacity depends mainly on the environment.

China, Brazil, Ecuador, India, Vietnam and Thailand are targeted for anti-dumping duties. The preliminary rates are expected to be announced by the US Commerce Department in early June.

Prakong Jantarat, president of the Thai Marine Shrimp Farmers’ Association, said the country’s shrimp production had fallen by 70 per cent since the investigation was announced late last year.

Due to fluctuating domestic and export prices, many shrimp-producers have stopped farming, particularly white shrimp, to avoid further losses.

“Thai shrimp production will go down to only 20 per cent of capacity next month, and the impact will be serious. Shrimp-producers stopped farming after experiencing losses for four to five straight months,” Prakong said.

Cold-storage operators and exporters have stopped stocking shrimp until the extra duty is announced to avoid any additional costs. As a result the domestic price of white shrimp has dropped from Bt270 to between Bt70 and Bt100 per kilogram.

Twenty per cent of shrimp-farmers in the South have closed their operations and changed to other businesses.

In an attempt to increase supplies, the shrimp associations, Thai Frozen Food, Thai Shrimp and Thai Marine Shrimp Farmers, will hold national seminars soon in the main shrimp-production areas of Chanthaburi, Chachoengsao and two southern provinces to convince people to reopen their farms.

Pong said shrimp-exporters had shifted to Japanese and Canadian markets, where their products were more competitive.

Japanese importers are building up their shrimp stocks as they expect a short-term decrease in supply.

In a twist, the fall in supply has pushed export prices up, particularly in the US, where retail prices have been rising by 10-20 per cent.

Retail prices are being quoted at US$7 (Bt276) to $12 per pound compared to $5-$8 earlier this year.

“Competition between Japan and the US is pushing up prices, because they do not want to pay high prices,” he said. The European Union is now the main target for Thai shrimp exports.

Pong and Prakong both said the anti-dumping threat had only affected exports of white shrimp. Exports of black tiger prawns are continuing to rise due to few exporting countries. However, white-shrimp exports have |to compete with China and Vietnam.

Last year Thailand exported 130,000 tonnes of shrimp products to the US, accounting for 55 per cent of the country’s total exports of 220,000-230,000 tonnes. Of this total, white shrimp accounted for 40-50 per cent, and the remainder was black tiger prawns.

Achara Pongvutitham

THE NATION

From:

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Fisherfolk Coalition Forms

In 1985, Pred Nai villagers became concerned when nearby logging mangrove concessions began to over-harvest and prohibited the villagers from harvesting crabs, shells, fish and other forest products in the concession areas.

Even after the concessions were stopped, it was difficult to control outsiders and those within the village from harvesting or destroying resources.

The villagers have been developing a forest management plan for their mangrove forest, doing forest demarcation and also patrolling.

After managing their forests for some time, today (2004), a Mangrove Network has been developed involving a number of villages nearby. The villagers realized that the people of a single village could not implement successful and sustainable resource management, especially as there was no demarcation of boundaries and no regulations on forest utilization. The idea of networking was initiated and facilitated in the nearby villages who share the same boundaries with Pred Nai communities and later, the network was expanded to many other villages to become members of the Community Coastal Resource Management Network, Trat Province. From exchanging knowledge and experiences, the villagers have learnt from their successes and failures. Collaboration strengthens people to initiate new ideas and practices that respond to the communities’ needs.

Villagers strongly believe that, during early stage of the mud crab life cycle, crabs get out along the canals and out to the sea along the coastal areas and later on come back to live in the mangrove forests. Therefore, they consider as another strategy protection from destruction by commercial fisheries within 3 kilometers along seacoast e.g. push-net and trawlers. The protection campaign has also begun.

Since villagers gain experiences in working collaboratively with outsiders e.g. fishery experts to develop fishery production technology together, forester to experiment on thinning, linkages to other institutions have been actively developed. Some problems are beyond the villager’s abilities e.g. destructive fishery, to solve, thus linkages with other institutions are used as a tool in ways to find solution, e.g. network with other villages, collaboration with other institutions like government forestry and fishery, police patrol and politics. Now the mangrove forest management network has been formed in eastern Thailand: Grassroots villagers learn to find their way to being their problems directly to policy decision markers. Some Senators and Ministers visited Pred Nai to learn what is going on there.

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BKK POST March 10, 2004
MEKONG RIVER

Chinese dams upstream blamed for drastic decline in fish stock

But govt official says drought the real cause

Kultida Samabuddhi

The water level in this part of the Chi River, a tributary of the Mekong, in Yasothon province has dropped about 6-8 metres because of drought, the lowest level in many years. – Chaiyo Chaiyana Fishermen in Chiang Rai have complained about a sharp depletion of fish stock in the Mekong river, linking the decline to a series of hydro-power dams upstream in China.

“Fishermen in Chiang Rai used to earn about 40,000 baht a year, now we get no more than 10,000 baht a year because the fish have vanished,” Jeerasak Intayos, a fisherman from Chiang Khong district, told a seminar held by the Thai Society of Environmental Journalists.

“Most fishermen here have turned into construction workers because we could no longer get enough food and income from the river,” Mr Jeerasak said.

The fish stock decline began about six years ago following the completion of Manwan dam, the first Chinese dam on the Mekong river, in 1996, he said.

“What has happened to the Mekong is horrible. The local villagers have never experienced such uncommon phenomena like uneven water levels, extremely low water, and heavy sedimentation,” he said.

The villagers wanted the government to look into the problem and force China to minimise the impact of its dams on the environment, he said.

“It seems the government is afraid of mighty China and dares not touch China’s development projects despite their impacts on the livelihood of millions of people in the lower Mekong basin,” he said.

Chainarong Sretthachau, head of the Southeast Asia River Network (Searin) environmental group, said the Mekong fish catch had dropped about 50% from three years ago.

“Migratory fish usually spawn in Chiang Khong in February but we see very few of them this year,” he said.

Mr Chainarong linked the fish stock depletion to river water fluctuations caused by the construction and operation of the Chinese dams, as well as the clearance of rapids in the upper stretch of the river to improve navigation.

Suphot Tovichakchaikul, head of the Water Resources Department’s water crisis prevention centre, however, said the Chinese dams were only partly to blame for the sharp fall in the Mekong’s water levels.

Drought sweeping through the region was more likely a major cause, he said.

Only 16% of the Mekong’s total flow came from China, compared to 35% from Laos, 18% each from Thailand and Cambodia, and 11% from Vietnam. “This means the construction of dams in China has only a minor impact on the water volume downstream,” said Mr Suphot.

From:

Vietnam

VIETNAM NEWS Feb.28, 2004

Shrimp farms fight to meet demand as prices soar

MEKONG DELTA – Farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta are reeling from depleted stocks of shrimp and tra catfish while prices for the seafood continue to jump.

The bird flu has stepped up sales and exhausted supplies while last year’s lower prices forced some farmers to get out of the game.

In Soc Trang Province, farmers have already harvested 41,000ha of tiger prawns of a total 50,000ha of cultivation area.

Nguyen Thanh Son, a shrimp farmer from My Xuyen District, said the price of tiger prawns had increased by 20-30 per cent compared to Tet prices one month ago.

Deputy head of Vinh Chau District’s agricultural office, Hoang Van Tien, said stocks were dwindling because seafood sales were strong.

“The outbreak of bird flu has meant sales of seafood are up 30-35 per cent especially in Ha Noi, HCM City and Can Tho. Restaurants and families are replacing fowl with shrimp,” said Tien.

Lower prices last year compelled some farmers to scale down production, leading to less fish on the market this year.

Do Thi Bich Phuong, a tra catfish farmer from An Giang Province’s My Hoa Hung Commune, said she earned VND120 million (US$7,600) last year, less than previous years due to a drop in prices.

As a result she has cut production at her farm by a third. And there’s still a lot of uncertainty.

“Sales of tra are good now and fetching a high price. But I’m afraid of a drop in prices in the upcoming tra fish harvesting season next June,” Phuong said.

Many tra catfish and tiger prawn farmers sold out altogether.

Just before Tet, tra sold for VND8,000 per kilogram and prawns were VND60,000 per kilogram. Now, when tra is fetching VND15,000 per kilogram and prawns VND160,000, farmers have no fish or shrimp to sell.

Another local fish breeder, Khuu Manh Huong, said bad weather had killed off his crop of fish. That, coupled with the high prices of feed and fry, forced him to think hard about investing any more in aquaculture, he said.

Seafood processors have also been hit hard by small stocks and hefty prices.

An Giang Association of Aquaculture and Processing vice president Phan Van Danh said local processing plants were running at half capacity because of low seafood supplies.

“Processors are facing difficulty in getting enough raw materials or they don’t dare purchase the supplies because of the high prices,” said a Soc Trang Province processing plant official.

Shrimp farmers in Nam Dinh Province are dealing with the same problems.

Hoang Van Dau, a farmer from Nghia Phuc Commune, said he has suffered enough losses – estimated at VND40 million ($2,500) – over the past three years that he doesn’t dare invest any more into the trade.

Before Tet, he had sold all his shrimp but now with the maximum price up to VND160,000 per kilogram, his farm is empty. – VNS

From: mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

S. ASIA

India

Hope along the Gujarat coastline

By Pankaj Sekhsaria

A small but promising mangrove restoration project takes off along highly degraded parts of the Gujarat coastline

This is a small dam that, believe it or not, has been constructed to stop the sea! At village Neja, Taluka Jambusar, Gulf of Khambhat in Gujarat ‘s Bharuch district. It’s might not be as grandiose as it sound at first, but for the few hundred households of this tiny village located on the banks of the Mahi estuary it’s a promise of hope and prosperity. It does two things simultaneously. On one side it keeps out the saline water of the mighty oceans that can swamp the village fields during high tide. On the opposite side it has created a small reservoir that saves and stores precious freshwater, water that would otherwise have drained into the sea.

The dam is a small, really small, construction that stands between the lands of the poor villagers of Neja and the might of the Arabian Ocean . Standing on the dam wall at low tide, the impact is not something that really hits home. What one sees is only a small, narrow creek that leads up to the ocean. Between the wall and the sea is the huge intertidal zone, which is at least a kilometre in width, a huge area that gets completely inundated when the tides rise. Were it not for the dam that was built about a year or so ago, this is the water that would have proceeded much further. A process of creating a natural wall of mangroves along with the artificial one of the dam is also presently on in this area that once had a thick mangrove cover.

Another village along the same coast in the same area is Village Nada. The intertidal zone here, as in the case of Neja, was once covered with a thick mangrove cover. Older folk in the village say that till about the 1970s, the area was rich in mangroves and the plants here went up to a height of 10 feet and more. This is about the time the depletion started. A group of merchants from Kutch marched into the area with more than 2,000 camels. Powerful local elements had no problems allowing them to graze in the mangroves. The locals did protest but it was largely ineffective. The result was a rapid decline in the density and height of the mangrove forests; first to about five feet, further to less than three and finally by the 1990s the area here was virtually stripped of its mangrove cover. This destruction also saw intensified protests by the local communities and finally, 25 years after the camels first came in, the district administration ordered the removal of the camels and their owners. The other problem the mangroves faced in this region was the opening up of saltpans which prevented freshwater from reaching the mangrove areas and the collection of mangrove seeds by the poor for use as a vegetable.

The combined impact has meant that little was left of the mangroves. The first and most crucial wall of protection had been destroyed and it was only a matter of time before the sea started to move in and occupy the good cultivable land of the villagers. It is a common story across the coastline of Gujarat , resulting in severe degradation of the land and serious hardships for the local people. Fortunately for the villagers of Neja and Nada, there is now a silver lining on the horizon.

The Ahmedabad-based organisation VIKAS and its associates have been working in this area for a while. Their main work has been with the Rathore community, the landless and the most underprivileged in this region. The realisation dawned along the way that if the issue of the degradation and salination of the common lands in the village due to inundation by the sea during high tide could be dealt with, these lands could be put to productive use. In association with the Saline Area Vitalisation Enterprise (SAVE) Limited, a project for mangrove restoration was initiated in 2002 along with the Gujarat Ecology Commission (GEC). The funding came from the Indo-Canadian Environment Facility. Scheduled to cover a total of 5,000 hectares, it is presently working in the Gulfs of Kutch and Khambhat. Areas covered in the Gulf of Kutch include Jakhau in Abdasa taluka where the facilitating agency is the Bhuj-based Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology. In the Gulf of Khambhat it is being implemented in the villages of Neja, Nada and Kantiajal in Bharuch district, Mahadevpura and Bhangadh in Dhandhuka taluka (district Ahmedabad) and Tada Talav/Wadgam in Khambat taluka (district Anand). The implementing agencies in Ahmedabad and Anand districts are the Dholera-based Mahiti Centre for Rural Development and Khambat-based Daheda Sangh respectively.

An important component of this six-year programme is the restoration of the mangrove cover in the intertidal zone, the target for Neja being 200 hectares, and for Nada 400 hectares. As a first step, free grazing in the area has been almost stopped with the help of the villagers. Trenches have been dug to trap seeds that fall from the present stand of mangroves and a nursery has been started for the propagation of seedlings. Considerable progress appears to have been made in a little more than a year since the project was initiated.

In Neja the small dam has done a good job of keeping the saline water away from the agricultural lands. Fodder grass production in the area has increased, reducing pressure on the mangroves; the small mangroves that are already standing have some protection; a full-fledged mangrove nursery is operational and a visibly promising new generation of naturally grown and planted mangrove saplings can be seen gently swaying in the ocean breeze!

– Pankaj Sekhsaria is an environmentalist with Kalpavriksh, a Pune-based environmental action group

From: “Infochange India” infochangeindia@dishnetdsl.net

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Coringa mangrove vegetation changes in last two decades:

Decadal changes in Coringa mangroves have been studied using past and recent satellite images: Landsat MSS image of 1977, Landsat TM of 1993 and IRS-1C LISS III image of 1999. …
Although declared as reserve forest between 1883 and 1900, the mangroves of the district had suffered important exploitation for wood until 1978 when it was declared as Wildlife Sanctuary. From 1893 onwards, the forest service planned wood exploitation with mangrove areas divided into blocks that in turn were clear-cut (Gazetteer of India, 1979). Today, woodcutting is prohibited; although nearby villagers continue to extract fire or construction wood mainly. On the 1977 image, polygon shape clear-cut areas as probably planned by the Forest Service for wood exploitation could still be clearly seen. Comparison with the 1993 image showed that the clear-cut areas had quite recovered then, as they could not be easily detected. Other areas where progression was observed are the mangroves in the Kakinada Bay, especially on the western part, and along River Gaderu. On the other hand, mangrove areas had been lost through erosion all along the coast. This trend is still true today as can be seen while comparing the 1993 and 1999 images. During that period, a relative progression in the northwest and a relative regression in the eastern parts can be noted. Regression is more visible as we move away from the main canals. The most noticeable changes in the mangrove areas are however due to shrimp culture. Until 1993, shrimp culture developed mostly on marsh/bare lands behind the mangroves, which could more easily be converted. Nevertheless, about 140 ha of mangrove had already been cleared for that purpose. Between 1993 and 1999, an area of about 1160 ha was claimed from paddies and about 450 ha from mangroves for aquaculture. The recovery of exploited areas within mangroves (as observed in 1993, compared to 1977), following the Coringa mangroves being declared as Wildlife Sanctuary in 1978, suggests that legislation has had a direct positive effect on mangrove tree canopy. In terms of species and size distribution, however, the impact of past coupes may not have been completely resorbed, as shown by the lower basal area in areas that were clear-cut in 1977. Past coupes may have had a more visible effect on areas that had been transformed into these dry areas with high soil salinity, where very few vegetation species can grow. It can be considered resulting from a natural process that had been worsened by repeated coupes. These areas have a topographical setup that allows them to be covered only during the highest tides, and the saltwater being unable to recede completely, stagnates, infiltrates, or evaporates, causing salinity to build up in the soil. Some of such areas have been chosen for reforestation by the Forest Department with the assistance of local NGOs such as M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation and others, a clear case where remote sensing data played a crucial role.

From Dr. Satya’s Ph.D. Thesis entitled “Ecobiology and Remote Sensing based study of Coringa mangroves in the Godavari Delta, East Coast of India” sumitted during November 2003.

From: satyam

Bangladesh

Tigers kill 58 people in Sundarbans last year

THE DAILY STAR

Tigers of the Sundarbans forest killed 58 people in the Satkhira range last year.

According to sources, 60 others have survived tiger attacks in the swampy jungles during the period. The victims were mostly fishermen, woodcutters and honey collectors who had ventured into the forest.

Left with permanent disability, the survivors are now passing their days in extreme hardship.

Three tigers were also killed by the villagers in the last year, said sources at the western wing of the Sundarbans Forest Division.

One big cat was shot dead at Kadamtali village in February while another was beaten to death at Harinagar village in May.

And the third big cat lost its life in Kalbari village also in May.

The Sundarbans Forest Division maintains records of the victims killed by tigers while venturing into the forest with official permission, Satkhira Range officer Kazi Nurul Karim said, adding that it does not keep records of the poachers who lost their lives to the big cats.

Tigers enter human habitats when there is scarcity of natural prey in the forest, he said.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

OCEANIA
Australia

GREAT BARRIER REEF IS DOOMED, SAYS REPORT

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef–the world’s largest chain of living
coral and one of the seven wonders of the natural world–will be almost completely destroyed by rising sea temperatures by 2050, predicts a new report released by Queensland University’s Center for Marine Studies.
“Coral cover will decrease to less than 5 percent on most reefs by the middle of the century, under even the most favorable assumptions,” says the report, which goes on to forecast that damage to the reef–one of the world’s top tourist attractions–will cost Australia $6.3 billion and more than 12,000 jobs by 2020. Prime Minister John Howard’s conservative government has made some attempts to mitigate the damage, but Australia has not signed the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and has no plans to do so. For more information, go to: MSNBC.com, Associated Press, 23 Feb 2004
The Independent, Kathy Marks, 23 Feb 2004

—SOURCE: Grist Magazine, February 23, 2004.
Subscribe to Grist Magazine’s free daily environmental news email.

From: Michelle Wildes
mwildes@THEOCEANPROJECT.ORG

LATIN AMERICA
Brazil

This story has been forwarded to you from WWW.ipsnews.net,

In the mangroves too.
TRADE-BRAZIL:

Shrimp – New Source of Tension with U.S.

By Mario Osava*
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 19 (IPS) – Brazil’s shrimp exports could follow the footsteps of Chile’s salmon, a successful fish-farming product that swiftly conquered markets overseas but for which it suffered threats of trade barriers in the United States.

Brazil’s shrimp production has been growing by more than 50 percent a year, from 3,600 tons in 1997 to 40,000 tons in 2003. Exports reached 258 million dollars last year.

The goal is to export 500 million dollars worth of shrimp by 2005, and to become the world leader in 2010, with exports that
could climb to “perhaps 1.5 billion dollars,” the president of the Brazilian Association of Shrimp Farmers (ABCC), Itamar Rocha,
told IPS.

But the euphoria has run up against a major obstacle. The Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA), which represents the shrimp
industry in the eight U.S. shrimp-producing states, filed anti-dumping complaints against Thailand, China, Vietnam, India,
Brazil, and Ecuador in late December.

In its complaint before the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission, the SSA accused those
countries of dumping — exporting products at prices deemed artificially low. The SSA is demanding that “anti-dumping” tariffs be
imposed on shrimp imports from those countries, ranging from 30
to 99 percent on shrimp from Vietnam and between 119 and 267 percent for shrimp from China, the world’s biggest shrimp
exporter. In the case of Brazil, the U.S. shrimp producers want duties of 40 to 230 percent.

If the complaint is admitted and the import duties are put in place, the U.S. market would be virtually closed to the world’s leading shrimp exporters. The United States is a key market for Brazilian shrimp farmers, as it purchases 45 percent of this country’s exports.

Rocha said the SSA complaint is not justified, because the reason Brazil’s shrimp is competitive is that the country’s shrimp farming industry has the highest production level in the world: 6.4 tons per hectare of saltwater, nearly double that of Thailand, the second most efficient producer.

That productivity level is the result of the technology that Brazilians have developed, and of the dry, sunny climate in
northeastern Brazil, where production continues year-round, in contrast to other countries, where low temperatures and rain
bring the activity to a halt for several months each year, he explained.

The arid, sunny climate of the northeast makes it possible to raise shrimp on cheaper, more natural food, said Rocha. Brazil is also free of pests that attack shrimp farm operations in other nations, which means local shrimp producers also save on
chemicals, he added.

Chile’s salmon producers have faced a similar situation since 1997. But last July, investigations determined that Chile’s exports were not being dumped on the U.S. market below cost.

Brazil’s special secretary of Aquaculture and Fisheries, José Fritsch, announced that he would invite representatives of the U.S. government and shrimp farmers to Brazil, to become familiar with local production techniques and verify for themselves that Brazilian producers do not resort to dumping and receive no government subsidies.
Fritsch said his hope is that the U.S. Department of Commerce will not accept the complaint, because the United States imports almost 90 percent of the shrimp consumed in that country. He pointed out that the suspension of imports would threaten the nearly 100,000 jobs generated by the
shrimp-processing sector in the United States.

In Brazil, shrimp farming employs 52,000 people, including workers in breeding labs, farms and hatcheries, and the processing industry. But it could generate many more jobs if the sector exported value-added products, said Rocha. So far the sector exports only unprocessed shrimp. But this
year, the industry will incorporate 14 new forms of packaging, such as peeled shrimp with tails and precooked shrimp. Production
of value-added products should double by 2005, and the products should make headway in more demanding markets and lead to the
creation of more jobs in Brazil, said Rocha.

However, shrimp farmers also face complaints of environmental damages, as shrimp farms operate in mangroves, fragile, unique ecosystems formed where the sea and freshwater meet, and where the vegetation is ideal for the breeding of fish and crustaceans.
That makes it an activity without a great future, economist Antonio Buainain, a professor at the University of Campinas in
southern Brazil, told IPS.

But Rocha said “that is not true,” and argued that shrimp farming in mangroves is a thing of the past in Brazil. He asserted that a visit to the new shrimp farms that have mushroomed in northeastern Brazil demonstrates that the complaints “are ideological, from those who are unfamiliar with the way things are done today,” said Rocha.

Aquaculture requires large amounts of ocean water, for which canals must be built, and doing so in mangroves is not cost-effective, he argued. “The ABCC is very concerned about the environment, and has sponsored studies on the possible pollution that could be caused by the water that runs out of the shrimp
pools,” he said.
(* Gustavo González in Chile contributed to this report.)

From Robin Lewis, LESrrl3@aol.com

Honduras

VERDICT
OF THE CENTRAL AMERICAN WATER TRIBUNAL

With so much satisfaction and considering the facts presented by CODDEFFAGOLF, the Central American Water Tribunal resolves the following:

1. To indicate emphatically the responsibility of the shrimp company Granjas Marinas San Bernardo for contamination and the shrimp company El Faro for damages to the wetlands of the Gulf of Fonseca.

2. To censor the Government of the Republic of Honduras for the nonfulfilment of its international obligations that are derived from the RAMSAR Convention for the protection of wetlands, especially those that serve as refuge areas for migratory birds.

3. In solidarity make responsible the IFC / World Bank for financings projects that have had serious environmental consequences in the ecosystems and the population of the Gulf of Fonseca.

All of this is the result of the Audience celebrated on March 18th, 2004, at the Central American Water Tribunal, in the city of San Jose, Costa Rica, because of the demand presented by CODDEFFAGOLF against the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank; the Government of Honduras and the companies Granjas Marinas San Bernardo and El Faro.

Later we will be sending the complete document.

Once more CODDEFFAGOLF has given execution to its vision and mission around the problematic situation of the Gulf of Fonseca in Honduras.

From: cgolf@coddeffagolf.net
STORIES/ISSUES
CONGO: World’s Second Largest Rainforest to be Destroyed

By Forests.org, Inc. - WWW.forests.org/
March 18, 2004

The World Bank and United Nations are seeking to increase logging by 60 times in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s priceless ancient rainforests. They are doing so without a government in place and against local opposition.

Where is the outrage? It takes one minute to protest turning Congo’s rainforest wilderness into diminished tree farms. Please do so at:

WWW.forests.org/action/africa/

The alert has been updated to now target the UN as well. Alert
participation has not been as high as desired. Consider that similar
protests in Papua New Guinea have helped reduce industrial logging of primary rainforests by 80%. Who will protect the World’s last wildlands, if not you?

Please forward this alert widely, organize supporting protests and visit the alert again to send your message to the UN. This is tremendously important. If industrial logging becomes established in the Congo to the degree it has elsewhere, there is little hope that Congolese rainforests – and their ecosystems, species and peoples – will be sustained.

From: “Forests.org”

——————————–

UNDISTURBED AMAZONIAN FORESTS ARE CHANGING, SAY
SCIENTISTS

Source: Copyright 2004, Nature, Date: March 10, 2004
Byline: Press Release

A research team of U.S. and Brazilian scientists has shown that rainforests in central Amazonia are experiencing striking changes in dynamics and species composition.

Although the cause of these changes — in what are believed to be completely undisturbed, old-growth forests — is uncertain, a leading explanation is that they are being driven by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide levels have risen by 30% in the last 200 years as a result of industrial emissions, automobiles, and rapid forest burning, especially in the tropics. Much of this increase has occurred since 1960. Plants use carbon dioxide from the air for photosynthesis.

“The changes in Amazonian forests really jump out at you,” said William Laurance, a U.S. scientist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Laurance is the lead author of the paper, which appeared this week in the scientific journal Nature. “It,s a little scary to realize that seemingly pristine forests can change so quickly and dramatically.”

For the past two decades, the research team studied the fate of nearly 14,000 trees in the central Amazon, scattered across a landscape of 120 square miles in area. During the course of the study, most species of trees began growing faster. The forests also became more dynamic, with existing trees dying faster and being replaced by young new trees.

Even more important is that the species composition of the forest is changing. “There clearly are winners and losers,” said Alexandre Oliveira of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, another team member. “In general, large, fast-growing trees are winning at the expense of smaller trees that live in the forest
understory.”

“The decline of many small trees is intriguing because they tend to be so specialized,” said Henrique Nascimento, a Brazilian researcher at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
“They live in the dark interior of the forest, and are the only trees that can flower and reproduce in deep shade.”

The most likely reason for these changes, say the researchers, is that rising carbon-dioxide levels are fertilizing the forests, leading to faster growth and more competition among trees for light, water, and soil nutrients. Under these conditions, big, fast-growing species of trees probably have an advantage over small, slower-growing trees.

“Sadly, this could be a signal that the forest,s ecology is changing in fundamental ways,” said team-leader Laurance.
“Tropical rainforests are renowned for having lots of highly specialized species. If you change the tree communities then other species — especially the animals that feed on and pollinate the trees — will undoubtedly change as well.”

“This appears to be yet another signal of effects on nature from increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and associated climate change,” said Thomas Lovejoy of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and Environment in Washington, D.C., who helped to establish the tree study in central Amazonian over two decades ago. “We really need more research to see if these remarkable changes are also happening in other tropical forests around the world. If they are, then it,s likely that even the world,s remotest forests are now being altered by human activities.”

For further information, contact:

Dr William F. Laurance
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Email: LauranceW@tivoli.si.edu

From: WWW.Forests.org

——————————–

New Report Offers Insights Into TRIPS

Report from Grain in Spain

Abstract: This report intends to assess the implications of the Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for coastal communities’ access to, and control over, aquatic biodiversity. To this end, it reviews marine biodiversity, coastal communities’ traditional ecological knowledge systems (TEKS) and the biodiversity they have conserved, and the industrial exploitation of marine genetic resources; it then analyzes TRIPS and the CBD as applied to marine biodiversity, and the implications of TRIPS and the CBD for both coastal States and fishing communities’ access to marine resources, control over their knowledge, and share of the benefits; lastly, it ends with some proposals for further research and action by the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF).

1. Foreword
Over the past few years, the matter of who controls biodiversity and associated knowledge has been high on the agenda of international development and environmental discourse. Discussions on this issue have been fuelled by both the ever-increasing restrictions on farmers’ rights to save seeds and public outrage on a pandemic of biopiracy- the unauthorized appropriation of the plants, knowledge and even the cells of indigenous peoples and local communities the world over.
Coastal communities, however, have been largely marginalized from these debates.
This report is the outcome of a one-month desk research on the implications of the international legal framework regulating control over biodiversity, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The research focuses on the medicinal use of marine biodiversity, both in traditional ecological knowledge systems (TEKS) andWestern industry, and in aquaculture.
This research was commissioned by the International Collective in
Support of Fishworkers (ICSF).

From: Anna Rosa Martinez
annarosam@yahoo.com

——————————–

Atomically modified rice in Asia

A nanotech research initiative in Thailand aims to atomically modify the characteristics of local rice varieties – including the country’s famous jasmine rice – and to circumvent the controversy over Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Nanobiotech takes agriculture from the battleground of GMOs to the brave new world of Atomically Modified Organisms (AMOs).

Please, for further details visit:
www.etcgroup.org

From: Hope Shand

ANNOUNCEMENTS
World Bank’s Draft Principles for a Code of Conduct Require More Input From Local Communities

The version of the “Principles for a Code of Conduct …” currently available for Download will be translated into Spanish for comments by local NGO’s. It may take some time as the translation is being carried out on a voluntary basis after normal working hours (there is no budget available to pay for the translation).

A French version should also be made at a later stage.
We have not decided on a Portuguese version. However, we hope that with additional funding the document can also be translated into Portuguese.

Cheers

Thomas Nielsen

DOWNLOAD “Code of Conduct files”.

At 05:53 PM 3/22/2004 -0500, Secretar?a-Redmanglar wrote:

Quito, 22 de Marzo de 2004
RM-E-2004-Q-005

Dr. Thomas Nielsen
Universidad de Aarhus
Dinamarca

Mr. Ron Zweig
Banco Mundial
Estados Unidos
(a continuaci?n en Espa?ol)

Dr. Nielsen and Mr. Zweig,
Through Alfredo Quarto from MAP (Mangrove Action Project) we have been informed about the advances in the proposed Principles for a Code of Conduct for Mangrove Management and Conservation. As we have read, the World Bank is working together with the University of Aarhus in Denmark in the elaboration of this document.
We have downloaded the document in order to review and comment it, and we were willing to deliver it through our partner organizations in Redmanglar. However, this document is entirely in English and involves important and complex technical material.
We desire that you open a discussion about this issue by delivering the draft in other languages such as Spanish and Portuguese. We understand that the English language is spoken worldwide, however the communities of indigenous peoples working directly with the mangroves, its local leaders and most NGOs working in the mangrove issues in Latinamerica don’t have enough tools to review a technical document in this language which is not our mother tongue.
Since the mangroves are a privilege of the countries located in the South, in the tropical and subtropical zones of the world, we believe that South America and Central America have the right to comment about proposed codes of conduct in the management of their own ecosystem before they are delivered as a finished document for its implementation.
We understand that you are opening a discussion trying to involve as many shareholders in this issue as possible. Please make the necessary arrangements to translate the draft both to Spanish and Portuguese so that our communities, our leaders and our organizations are involved in this process where we are the main actors in the decision making and pospone the deadline to receive these comments until a translation is delivered..
We will appreciate very much your response to this petition.

Sincerely,
Lider Gongora F.
Executive Secretariat
Redmanglar

——————————–

Bees and Forests

Nicola Bradbear is preparing a new text on ‘Bees and forests’ and is seeking interesting case studies from around the world, especially information about bees and mangroves. The text will be published by FAO’s Forestry Division later in 2004. Please send information to:

Dr Nicola Bradbear
Bees for Development
Troy, Monmouth, NP25 4AB, UK
info@beesfordevelopment.org

Bees for Development is an organisation that seeks to support beekeepers in developing countries with useful information: find more details at www.beesfordevelopment.org

——————————–

First ICWRP project: Mexico’s Sian Ka’an Ramsar Site

The International Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (ICWRP) is an innovative voluntary public-private global initiative to restore impaired but ecologically important wetlands and other aquatic habitat in watersheds around the world. The ICWRP partnership — a combined effort of several partners, including The Gillette Company, the United Nations Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Coastal America Foundation — will engage the private sector and develop cohesive partnerships that join technical, financial, and administrative resources to help reverse the disappearance of wetlands.

The ICWRP was launched yesterday, 22 March 2003, in Miami, Florida, USA, with Ramsar’s Margarita Astrálaga participating, and it was announced that the ICWRP’s inaugural project will focus on Mexico’s Sian Ka’an World Heritage site, Biosphere Reserve and (since November 2003) Ramsar Site. The US$750,000 project seeks to protect Sian Ka’an’s critical coastal habitats and ensure the viability of the region’s freshwater and marine systems against threats from coastal development, unregulated tourism, and unsustainable farming and fishing practices, and the project is being implemented by the Mexican environmental organization Amigos de Sian Ka’an.

A press release on this important development can be found on the Web site of The Nature Conservancy, reprinted at RAMSAR.

More information about the ICWRP partnership and Ramsar’s role can be found at www.icwrp.org.

The Ramsar press release on the signing of the agreement with the Coastal America Foundation, part of the ICWRP, in January 2004.

From: PECK Dwight – Ramsar

——————————–

Journal To Address Enviro Management Issues

A new SETAC-Journal which specifically addresses environmental management issues: International Environmental Assessment and Management (IEAM). IEAM aims to be one of the premier scientific forums for presenting data, promoting dialogue, and fostering an
improved awareness of the significance of environmental and scientific research to the development of sound approaches to environmental problem-solving, environmental management strategies, and regulatory policy and law.

It moves beyond how to do an assessment to examine the interface between assessment and management, and how the context in which management is operating has an influence on assessment design and application.

For more information, please visit the IEAM website.

From: Susanne Heise s.heise@tu-harburg.de

——————————–

Earth Day – Let’s Take a Stand Together

Earth Day is the kind of international force that makes global change possible. The power in Earth Day comes from people like you. Here at EDN, we are very grateful for your part in this international movement – your efforts inspire people the world over and help to keep hope alive.

I hope that you will join us on 22 April, this year – just over a month away. In the last week or so, you would have heard from the international team about our theme for this year, which is clean water. I invite you to take whatever Earth Day action is appropriate for your group and your community. Whether you undertake something very small, such as a personal commitment to conserve water, or something on a bigger scale, we applaud your involvement, and we thank you for your role in helping to make this world a better place.

I look forward to staying in contact with you as Earth Day approaches. As you develop your plans, please ensure to register them on our website so we can

From: end@earthday.net

——————————–

World Ocean Day is June 8th!

Visit www.WorldOceanDay.org !

The Ocean Project is working with organizations around the world, including the World Ocean Network, as well as our North American planning committee, to promote this annual celebration of the ocean, and to stimulate aquatic and ocean conservation action from people all over the planet. Begun after the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, World Ocean Day is still not receiving enough attention and we aim to change that!

Whether you are at an inland zoo or conservation organization, or a coastal museum or aquarium, there is much you can do with and for your visitors and members to celebrate World Ocean Day! If you are planning an event this June 8, please submit a WOD event form, so that we can promote your event on our World Ocean Day web-pages and keep track of worldwide WOD efforts.

From: Michelle Wildes

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
Coastal Zone Asia-Pacific Conference in Brisbane Australia, September 2004.

AQUACULTURE CORNER
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Melissa Young, Producer
melissa@movingimages.org

Dynamic New Film Explores Impacts of Salmon Farming

NET LOSS: THE STORM OVER SALMON FARMING
52 minutes, 2003
KQED/San Francisco- Sunday, April 18, 5 p.m. and KCTS/Seattle – Wed. April
21, 8 p.m.[and many others on other dates/times]

All over the world, fish are at the heart of people’s diets and cultures. And on the North Pacific coast, there’s no fish like the legendary salmon.
An important element in Native mythology, a livelihood for generations of fishermen, and a staple of the Northwest diet, the salmon has become an icon for this region.

But decades of habitat loss and poor fisheries management have threatened our wild salmon runs. One new alternative, the commercial farming of salmon in underwater cages, has promised more fish for people to eat and less pressure on the wild salmon. So what are the repercussions of salmon
aquaculture on our marine environment and coastal communities?

Filmed in British Columbia, Washington, and Chile, the new documentary, NET LOSS: THE STORM OVER SALMON FARMING, examines this industrial approach to producing salmon from both local and global perspectives. Government and industry spokesmen make the case for salmon farming, and fishermen, Native people, scientists and chefs explain the dangers it may pose for the
environment, human health, and coastal cultures.

Those who appear include whale biologist Alexandra Morton, Joseph McGonigle
of Aqua Bounty Farms, Rodrigo Infante of Salmonchile, Seth Zuckerman, co-author of Salmon Nation, former Canadian MP Lynn Hunter, Chief Bill Cranmer, Namgis First Nation [BC], and independent fishermen North and
South.

With recent major articles about the implications of fish farming published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and local papers along the
Northwest Coast from Oregon to Alaska, more and more people are growing concerned about the source and quality of a favorite food. This timely film, combining lush photography, lively music, and an engaging narrative, lays out the issues in a way that is understandable and highly watchable.

Contact Information:
For video copies: Bullfrog Films, 800-543-3764, video@bullfrogfilms.com
Filmmakers: Melissa Young, Mark Dworkin, info@movingimages.org

——————————–

69 per cent ‘prefer taste of wild salmon’ over farmed

The Vancouver Sun, 16 Mar 2004

VANCOUVER – Sixty-nine per cent of British Columbians prefer the taste of wild salmon over farm-raised, and 72 per cent believe that eating the wild product is better for the environment than eating the farmed, according to a public opinion poll released Monday.

While British Columbians overwhelmingly prefer wild fish on environmental and taste grounds, a lesser number, 53 per cent, consider farmed salmon a “major environmental hazard” while 56 per cent believe they pose a “major risk to wild stocks of salmon.”

Among those consumers worried about buying farmed salmon, chemicals and toxins, including antibiotics and PCPs, are listed as the main concerns.

Fifty-three per cent of British Columbians also believe that restaurants that serve only wild salmon have higher quality compared with 50 per cent for grocery stores that only sell wild.

From: Lynn Hunter hunterlynn@shaw.ca

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Race underway to craft rules for U.S. fish farming

Naples Daily News
By Cathy Zollo
March 13, 2004

The race is on to write the rules that will govern fish farming in U.S. waters, particularly the Gulf of Mexico.

Over recent weeks, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has sought comment from fishermen, environmentalists, fish farmers and aspiring fish farmers on what they’d like to see in the rules.

About 100 fishermen and others showed up for a scoping meeting in Key West on Monday, but only about a dozen stayed late to talk about fish farming.

Wayne Swingle, executive director of the fishery council, said it was a hot topic at other meetings around the Gulf.

All the effort — eight meetings in all five Gulf states — might be for nothing. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been crafting legislation that would streamline the permitting process and open U.S. waters to leasing by aquaculture entrepreneurs, though insiders and observers say the effort is stalled.

Such legislation would pre-empt any rules put forth by the fishery council, but the groups that want a say in writing any fish farming rules showed up anyway to make suggestions, including one to just drop it.

That came from environmentalists, entrepreneurs and those with social and economic concerns, but their opposition arose from different concerns.

Environmentalists say not enough is known about open ocean fish farming to proceed so hastily with rule-making. Those rules add up to several dozen pages of regulations that address everything from the kind of fish aquaculturists could raise or modify to where facilities could operate and what kinds of permits they would require.

Marianne Cufone, program manager with The Ocean Conservancy in St. Petersburg, said now is not the right time to begin such rule-making for several reasons.

“I’m confused by the sudden push for open ocean aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico,” she said. “There is not yet the right science. Everything is fragmented.”

From: SeaWeb Aquaculture Clearinghouse

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Profit ahead of conservation: tuna farming in the Mediterranean is out of control

WWF Press release 
3/1/2004

The booming tuna farming industry in the Mediterranean is spiralling out of control and threatens the survival of the highly-endangered bluefin tuna, WWF warned today. The conservation organization has left an international body on tuna farming practices for putting profit ahead of conservation, and
is highly critical of the EU, whose subsidies boost tuna fishing and farming activities.

Tuna farming – the fattening of wild bluefin tuna in cages – has increased by close to 50 percent in the Mediterranean last year, to reach 21,000 tonnes. It is driven mainly by the Japanese market demand for “sushi”. According to WWF, this has dramatically increased the amount of bluefin tuna caught from an already overexploited stock in the Mediterranean by a growing
industrial fleet.

Because it was dominated by the industry and failed to come up with
effective measures to address the problem, WWF has quit a working group on sustainable tuna farming coordinated by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and the International Commission for th Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) – the two most important bodies for the regulation of fisheries in the Mediterranean.

From: mskladany@iatp.org

AROUND THE CORNER
Regarding the spread of Nypah in the Niger Delta:

From Francis Nwosu,

I have known the work of NCF in this regard. As at 2000 in a Workshop at University of Uyo, the products NCF presented were not what the local people would like to engage in. However, we (I and Prof. Holzloehner) had proposed in a paper the use of nypa sap as it is done in Indonesia and other Asian countries where nypa was importted from. This proposal was sent through the Vice Chancelor of my University to the Minister, Ministry of Environment, even at
thier request. But we had got no response since that time. At the moment, I am not aware yet of NCF teaching on the use of nypa sap, and I will like to know the location of such project too.

I am a Lecturer at the Institute of Oceanography, University of Calabar. I have been interested in habitat management, especially mangrove. We made an initial survey and mapping of the Cross River Mangrove, established that nypa dominance over
indigeneous mangrove was anthropogenically induced, and correlated nypa density with loss of mangrove in areas of high human concentration of utilization of mangrove. We also proposed the establishment of Mangrove Park in the area to protect the existing mangrove.

======

From Ben Brown
map-indo@dps.centrin.net.id

Indeed Nypah has been reintroduced to the region after a long absence (the Pleistocene), and indeed Nypah has the characteristics of an invasive plant, spreading vegatatively along river banks with its rhizomatous underground trunk. But to say that it is competing with natural mangrove vegetation may or may not be the case. Nypah usually natural monospecific stands in deep mud where there is a source of fresh water, and it surely oucompetes some herb-like mangrove associates, but seldom established mangrove trees. Like the report says, if Nypah is spreading in an area where mangrove once grew it is due to human pressure on the mangroves in the first place. Thus combating the spread of Nypah is treating the symptoms but not the roots cause of the problem. Working with local communities to promote sustainable utilization of local mangrove species bot directly (sustainably harvested wood, medecine etc) and indirectly as fisheries habitat is what is needed. Otherwise what you will be left with is no Nypah and no mangrove and plenty of eroding muddy river banks .

Late Friday News, 133rd Ed., 12 March 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 133rd Edition of the Late Friday News.

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 133rd Edition, 12 March 2004
FEATURE STORY
Fishermen in Sundarban in dire straits

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched
Things Are Really Cooking At Tiwoho’s CCRC!
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves
MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

AFRICA
Nigeria
Community groans under massive oil spill from Shell’s facility.
US AID/ Shell Oil Plans Include Shrimp Farms In Nijer Delta

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand
Village head, 4 others, arrested for triple murder
Potential duties spur heavy exports to US
Charges may take effect on Friday

Indonesia
Large Scale Shrimp Farming and Impacts on Women
Women and sustainable development in Indonesia

Vietnam
U.S.-Vietnam Ties Raise Hopes, Hackles

S. ASIA

Bangladesh
Bangladesh says tiger numbers burning bright
Shatkhira Sundarbans Deforestation for Shrimp Culture
Sundarbans: Back to the wall, fishermen take to logging
Eco-huts to be built in Sundarbans
Switzerland to help produce organic shrimps for exports

OCEANIA
New Caledonia
Following the Money Trail: Unanswered Questions

LATIN AMERICA
Brazil
Brazil’s Shrimp Caught Up in a Trade War

Honduras
The “MALINCHES” MINISTERS

NORTH AMERICA
USA
So Much Shrimp

STORIES/ISSUES
Corals, Seagrass and Mangroves, Essential Ingrdients
ANNOUNCEMENTS
Thematic Review on Coastal Wetland Habitats and Shrimp Aquaculture.
Society of Wetland Scientists’ Ramsar Support Grant Program

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
World Conservation Forum, Bangkok,
“IN DEFENCE OF LAND AND LIVELIHOOD”

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Aquaculture is farming, not fishing, report says

FEATURE STORY
Editor’s Note: The shrimp industry purports to provide many jobs for poor coastal people.-supposedly thousands of jobs. However, those jobs are more often than not short-term and highly destructive, leaving both environmental and economic ruin in their wake. The following story clearly illustrates one such industry repurcusion:

Fishermen in Sundarban in dire straits
Ban on netting shrimp fry hits them in belly

JULHAS RIPON back from Sundarban
NewAge, March 2, 2004, Dhaka, Bangladesh
www.newagebd.com

Several hundreds of poor fishermen living in different chars of Sundarban are trapped in �dadan� (debt), as they are not capable of returning borrowed money to the lenders this time due to the government�s ban on fishing of shrimp fry in the coastal rivers.
Following the strict enforcement of the government�s ban since last December, the fishermen are in great distress due to the sudden shrinking of their income sources.
The government enforced the ban to protect the country�s fish population as the fishermen destroy different fish species while netting shrimp fry.
The dadan is a traditional money-lending system in rural Bangladesh, where the influential money-lenders give the money to the needy in advance and are repaid by products or services.
As the indiscriminate fry collection from coastal rivers is destructive, the government banned collection of fry of shrimp and other fish from the coastal belt through promulgation of a law in September 2000, though it was not enforced strictly before out of consideration for the fishermen.
Talking to New Age recently at Joymoni village under Chandpai Range of the Sundarban, many villagers, mainly fishermen, said they were passing their days in misery as they are facing both the dadan-wallahs and the police.
Some of the dadan-wallahs have already filed cases against some poor fishermen complaining that �they lent the money during the needy days of the fishermen, but now they are not returning the money�.
The situation is the same in other villages such as Holdeyboni, Bouddabari, Katakhali, Sundartola, Telikhali, Amtola, Kalatola, Keyaboni, Jipdhora, Amarboina and Kuchgonia.
The villagers said that about 80 per cent of them have no land to cultivate and, as their main profession is in a critical situation and they have no other alternative to fishing, they are in no position to return the money to the dadan-wallahs.
The villagers of the nearby area mainly used to collect shrimp fry from the river Pashur, a major river that flows through the world�s largest coastal mangrove forest.
�We understand the government�s concern about the fish population, but what will we do to earn a living?� asked Aman Gazi, a fisherman at Joymoni Bazar in Chilai Union Parishad under Chandpai Range.
He said he had a family of five and had no land other than the site of his hut. �Then how can we survive if I am not allowed to catch shrimp fry?� he questioned.
Gazi said he took Tk 20,000 as loan from a local, influential shrimp businessman last year, but he could not supply the shrimp fry to him though he had used the money for buying nets and related purposes.
�I have only repaid Tk 3,000 to him, but now he wants me to return the rest of the amount,� Gazi said sadly, adding that the money-lender recently threatened him with dire consequences.
The other villagers, who have some arable lands in the area, were also dependent on catching shrimp fry or doing shrimp fry business.
They said due to abnormal increase of salinity in the land in the last few years, the production of rice and other crops has declined significantly.
Villager Mohammed Sultan Gazi told New Age that they can produce only eight maunds of Amon rice in one bigha (33 decimals), which is not economically viable.
�I am lucky that I have some land, but most of the villagers are in tremendous trouble for lack of cash,� he added.
On the other hand, the dadan-wallahs are also in a dilemma as a huge amount of their money is in the
fishermen�s hands. One of them denied the allegations of threatening or filing cases against the poor fishermen.
�I lent Tk 2 lakh to the fishermen, but I cannot get back the money from them,� said Sheikh Abul Kashem, a dadan-wallah. �Now I do not know what will happen to my family if I lose the amount.�
The forest department officials told New Age that they have no plan to withdraw the ban as the government has taken the issue seriously.
“�We want to continue the ban for the sake of increasing and protecting fish population in the coastal belt,” said Mohammed Ali Kabir Haider, forest conservator in the Khulna Circle.

From: Zakir Kibria

MAP WORKS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

at:WEBSITE

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

Things Are Really Cooking At Tiwoho’s CCRC!

Follow-up from the Improved Cookstove and Kitchen Design Workshop.

Two community groups were formed after the improved cookstove and kitchen workshop (held in February, 2004 at Tiwoho community’s recently constructed (nearly completed) Coastal Communities Resource Center in N. Sulawesi, Indonesia). The first group is called CIRARO, which means “to work together-volunteer style.� Ibu Yemmi is the leader of thegroup. The
second is called BAPAKA, which means to paddle a canoe together and is
headed up by Ibu Masni.

CIRARO has held 5 meetings since the workshop, producing 11 improved cookstoves for domestic use. The group has modified the portable one pot “Sonder� design studied at the workshop and added a small space for grilling fish. Members of the group have also met with the village head,s wife and the wife of the minister to make some larger permanent two pot cookstoves and an charcoal grill for grilling fish.

On the 9th of March the group met and formalized a small administration, choosing Ibu Yemi for the Group Leader, Ibu Dona as secretary and Ibu Sherl as Treasurer. They are pooling their resources to make a small shelter for storing cookstoves which they plan to sell commercially. Tuesdays and Fridays have been chosen as meeting days and the group hopes to produce 2 cookstoves at each meeting until the entire group (35 women) own their own improved cookstoves.

The BAPAKA group was formed on March 7, and has held 2 meetings producing 4 wood burning stoves and one charcoal grill. A larger two hole cookstove produced during the main workshop is now in use (after drying for 3 weeks) and the owners attest to the fact that it cooks much faster than their traditional stove and uses only 1/3 the amount of wood. They are pleased.

When evey member of both groups have their own cookstoves, they wil begin construction of larger, permanent two hole cookstoves for interested families. Several member of the group have also discussed commercialization of portable cookstoves but are waiting to gain more experience building cookstoves as a collective group.

From: map-indo

ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2.GROUNDSFORCHANGE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair TradeFederation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand

MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT,S
SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM
An experiential study of Thailand,s coastal resources
And the people who depend on them

A new exciting two-week experiential ecology program will provide an opportunity to learn about Thailand,s mangrove forests and other critical, but often threatened coastal wetlands. Visit Thailand’s first coastal national park located on the Gulf of Thailand and world famous Phang Nga Bay and the Island of Phuket on the Andaman Sea. Learn about the ecological importance of mangroves, the endangered Dugong and see water birds, languors, and mud skippers. Learn what the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) and a local Thai NGO are doing to conservemangroves. Stay with a fisherfolk family on an island in Phang Nga Bay and experience first hand their culture and efforts to protect the coastal resources on which that their livelihood depends. An extra John Gray SeaCanoe Eco-tour can be arranged at the tour end to view the amazing mangroves and caves of Phang Nga Bay from the vantage point of a kayak, a truly intimate marine experience.  www.johngray-seacanoe.com/

Program Dates: July 4-17
Fee not including airfare or food: $800/person
For more information contact: Dr. Lamar Robert lamar@thailand.com
Mangrove Action Project’s website.

MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A 10 day mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being considered for the month of September 2004. MAP has received word from the local organizing NGO, SAVE, based in Akumal that a September date was more favorable for local organizing and preparations purposes. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first ofmany Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32°C
Humid.: 70 %
(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com  . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

AFRICA
Nigeria

ERA FIELD REPORT #130: SHELL’S BOGUS SABOTAGE CLAIMS

ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS ACTION (ERA)
E-mail: eraction@infoweb.abs.net
www.eraction.org
DESPATCHLINE: OKU-AGHORO, EKEREMOR LGA, BAYELSA STATE, NIGERIA
FROM: OSAYANDE OMOKARO & ADAKA INENO MORRIS

DATE: FEBRUARY 25, 2004

Community groans under massive oil spill from Shell’s facility..Shell, community differ on cause of spill. Shell attributes incident to sabotage, rules out compensation. Shell resumes operation, refuses to clear spill

Oku-Aghoro is a riverine Ijaw community located in Ekeremor Local Government
Area of Bayelsa State. The local people are predominantly fisher-folks, although some also engage in subsistence farming.

Shell commenced crude oil exploitation in the community in 1965 and has six oil wells and a flow-station in the area. The community is grossly underdeveloped and lacks basic amenities such electricity, pipe borne water
and health services.

On February 16, 2004, a massive oil spill occurred at Shell’s Trans-Ramos pipeline located at Oku-Aghoro Community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. The said pipeline, which is used by Shell to transport crude oil from the area to its export terminal at Escravos, spewed over
1,500 barrels of crude oil into the Aghoro river and surrounding creeks, thus endangering aquatic life and disrupting fishing activities in the area.

Aghoro River, which is the only source of drinking water in the area, and the surrounding creeks in which the local people carry out their fishing activities were severely polluted by the spill. Fishing gadgets, such as
nets, hooks and wooden canoes were also submerged by the thick sludge formed
by the oil spill. The devastating oil spill also spread through rivers and creeks to neighboring communities like Ogbotobo, Opukashi and Benesede.

During an assessment tour of the affected areas, it was discovered that the faulty pipeline had been repaired. However, crude oil sludge and sheen were seen still floating on the Aghoro River and the surrounding creeks in the area. It was also observed, during the assessment tour, that the spill has
seriously impacted the surrounding vegetation and mangrove trees, thus causing them to wither. Offensive odours emanating from the crude oil hung thickly in the air while the local people were seen still pulling out their fishing nets and canoes from the polluted creeks.

SHELL ATTRIBUTES SPILL TO SABOTAGE, RULES OUT COMPENSATION FOR COMMUNITY PEOPLE

ERA’s investigation at Oku-Aghoro Community reveals that as soon the spill
was noticed on the 16th of February, 2004, the incident was promptly reported to Shell officials at their zonal office in Warri. However, community people informed ERA that it took Shell about three days to respond
to the distress call sent to them.

Mr. Oweizide Orubu, a youth leader in the area, informed ERA that some Shell officials who eventually came to the community on the 19th of February, 2004, to investigate the cause of the spill accused the local people of
sabotage and vowed to make them pay for their crime. Mr. Orubu further explained that a “joint investigation report”, which the people never contributed to, was later written by Shell officials and circulated to the
media….

…Apparently dissatisfied with the sabotage claim by Shell, some community people have already called on the presidency to set up an independent panel of enquiry to unravel the true cause of the spill….aa result of the strong opposition to the sabotage claim as well as the lack of evidence to support this claim, Shell has agreed to conduct another round of investigation to identify the true cause of the spill. ERA calls on Shell to involve the community people in this round of
investigation!

SHELL RESUMES OPERATIONS, REFUSES TO CLEAR SPILL

Further investigation by ERA Field Monitors reveals that three days after the spill, some Shell officials came to the community to repair their faulty facility. It was gathered from community people that the leaking portion of the said pipeline was clamped while some booms were deployed on the Aghoro River and the surrounding creeks, so as to contain the rapid spread of the
crude oil.

Local people interviewed by ERA in the community explained that no clean up
exercise was conducted by Shell in the affected areas. ERA’s investigation in the affected areas corroborated this claim. Crude oil sheen and sludge were seen still floating on the Aghoro River and the surrounding creeks.

Although, Shell is yet to clear the crude oil spill from its facility, normal work has since resumed at its Aghoro flow-station and other oil installations in the area. This is clear a demonstration of Shell’s insensitivity to the plight of its host community and their environment.

ERA RECOMMENDS THAT SHELL SHOULD

- Stop accusing the local people of sabotage and involve them in the investigation process aimed at unraveling the actual cause of the spill
- Immediately commence a proper clean-up exercise in the Aghoro River and the adjoining creeks and other affected areas.
- Pay adequate compensation to community people whose environment, fishing gadgets and source of livelihoods have been destroyed by the spill.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Write protest letter to Shell asking them to:

Commence the process of cleaning up the spill
Supply relief materials to the community to cushion the economic effects of the spill
Pay adequate compensation to the local people whose environment and means of livelihood have been destroyed by the spill.
Send copies of your letter to local and international media, environmental groups and your elected representatives.

SHELL’S ADDRESS

Managing Director
Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC)
Freeman House
21/22 Marina, PMB 2418
Lagos, Nigeria
Tel:23412601600-19
Fax:23412636681
Email: info@spdc.shell.com  and shellcorp-id@spdc.shell.com

For more information contact:

ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS ACTION/ FRIENDS OF THE EARTH (FoE, Nigeria)
E-mail: oilwatch@infoweb.abs.net

E-mail: disera@infoweb.abs.net
www.eraction.org

From: Beth Burrows beb@igc.org

US AID/ Shell Oil Plans Include Shrimp Farms In Nijer Delta

Note: For months now rumors have been flying that Shell Oil and US AID have gotten together to implement large-scale investment project in Niger Delta vis a big grant to initiate cassava production and shrimp production for the export markets. The following news report culled from the Nigerian Guardian newspaper on Feb. 27, 2004 seems now to bear out the truth in this earlier rumor.

The following news story may well point to the beginning of the planned move for the Shell/ US AID promotion of introduction of indusrial shrimp farming in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

THE GUARDIAN
CONSCIENCE, NURTURED BY TRUTH
LAGOS, NIGERIA. Friday, February 27 2004

news

Shell, others okay N1.5b cassava scheme

From Chido Okafor, Warri
AMAJOR deal to boost cassava production in 11 states in the country was on Wednesday signed by Shell Petroleum Development Company, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Institute of Tropical

Agriculture (IITA) in Delta State.

Under the scheme, a N1.518 billion ($11 million) Cassava Development Project (CEDP) will be implemented over five years and will target 300,000 farm households. It will provide farmers with access to disease-resistant varieties, develop marketing outlets for cassava

products and establish cassava processing enterprises at the community level.

A five-year $20 million memorandum of

Understanding (MOU) to share their common goals apart from the joint cassava project, was on Wednesday signed by the three partners at the opening

of a three-day stakeholders’ workshop

in Effurun, Delta State. Representatives of Shell locations world-wide are attending the workshop.

The cassava enterprise development will concentrate its efforts in 11 states in the South-East and South-South.

The Guardian gathered that the partnership would help address developmental challenges in the Niger Delta.

Mission Director of USAID/Nigeria, Mr. Dawn Liberi, said: “As we know then, the primary source of revenue for the government of Nigeria is from oil exploration and production in the Niger Delta region. However, this region is one of the most under-developed areas in Nigeria and continues to experience serious conflicts”.

The USAID/Nigeria recently

approved a five-year strategy (2004-2009) where $350 million dollars had been earmarked to improve democratic governance, the economy, social sector services and reduce the impact of the dreaded Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) and the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AID).

The IITA was founded in 1967 with a mandate to improve food production in the humid tropics and to develop sustainable production systems.

(c) 2003 – 2004 @ Guardian Newspapers Limited (All Right Reserved).
Powered by dnetsystems.ne t dnet�

From: Niger Delta

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand

Village head, 4 others, arrested for triple murder

The NATION Published on Feb 15, 2004

A village headman in Samut Sakhon and four workers on his prawn farm have been arrested over allegations that they murdered three Phetchaburi livestock farmers who disappeared in December, police said yesterday.

Two of the men confessed that the three victims were shot execution-style and that their bodies cremated one at a time in a 200-litre oil drum.

The five murder suspects are Chaiwat Rodtassana, the village headman, and four residents of Phetchaburi – Amornthep Lerdbangplad, Alak Makban, Sompop Meekaew and Anuphan Nuchapong.

The victims – Saroj Sangnimit, Amnuaychai Pengnuam and Sompoj Phuraya – were livestock farmers in Ban Laem district.

They were last seen on December 11 gathering hay to feed their cattle near Chaiwat’s prawn farm.

After investigators intensified their interrogation of the farm workers, Anuphan confessed, which led to the arrest of Chaiwat and the other suspects, Warawut said.

Anuphan, whose confession was corroborated by Sompop, said the triple homicide was sparked by an argument between the victims and Amornthep’s wife, Sukritta Lerdbangplad.

Sukritta and the three argued after they entered the prawn farm to gather hay for their livestock. They told her that they had permission from Chaiwat to enter his property, then made disparaging remarks about her, Anuphan said.

Sukritta called Chaiwat to report the insulting trespassers and he and Amornthep arrived back at the farm in a rage, Anuphan told police.

The two summoned Sompop, Alak and Anuphan to help them subdue the three men. After the three victims were tied up, Chaiwat allegedly shot each one in the head. The five suspects then allegedly burnt the bodies and dispersed the ashes over the prawn farm.

Bangkok Post March 3, 2004
Potential duties spur heavy exports to US
Charges may take effect on Friday

Phusadee Arunmas

Thai shrimp exports to the United States have surged as exporters step up shipments before March 5, the date when anti-dumping duties could potentially come into effect if the US government rules that punitive tariffs must be charged.

Exports of both frozen and processed shrimp in January and February were four times higher than in the same period last year. Shipments totalled 15,700 tonnes in January 2003 and 14,983 tonnes in February.

According to Panisuan Jamnarnweij, president of the Thai Frozen Foods Association, US importers have been placing heavy orders since the start of the year, though the period traditionally is considered the trade’s low season.

He said importers were rushing to get shipments into the US before March 5, the day when shrimp imports may become subject to the new duty charge.

Mr Panisuan said that although the US Department of Commerce (USDC) was not scheduled to rule until June 8 on whether shrimp from six countries including Thailand have been unfairly dumped, the punitive tariff charges would likely be backdated 90 days.

Last month, the US International Trade Commission ruled 6:0 in favour of a petition by US shrimp raisers to investigate whether imports from Thailand, China, Brazil, Ecuador, Vietnam and India were being sold in the US at below home-market prices, making them liable for anti-dumping duties.

Mr Panisuan said the USDC was investigating four Thai producers and exporters _ Thailand Fishery, Thai Ekkamai, Chanthaburi Seafood and Union Frozen Plc _ over their pricing policies and production costs as part of the trade complaint process before a decision is made in June.

Mr Panisuan has called on the Thai government to take action to help shrimp producers avoid the crippling duty. “Once it is imposed, the anti-dumping duty will be effective for five years with an annual review,” he said.

He said that even a 5% extra duty would jeopardise one-third of the country’s 120 processing plants and could force them out of business. “A 10% duty would have consequences for half of all producers.”

According to a source at the Thai Frozen Foods Association, Thai shrimp could face duties of 5-10%, causing at least 20 billion baht in damages to the economy as the impact would be felt by exporters as well as related industries and more than 30,000 farm households.

The US is the largest market for Thai shrimp, accounting for half of last year’s 220,000-tonne export total.

Indonesia

W R M B U L L E T I N 79 February 2004

Large Scale Shrimp Farming and Impacts on Women

Inland aquaculture has been practiced in Asian countries, namely in Indonesia, China, India and Thailand for hundreds of years. Shrimps were traditionally cultivated in paddy fields or in ponds combined with fishes, without significantly altering the mangrove forest, which for centuries has been used communally by local people providing them a number of products such as commercial fish, shrimp, game, timber, honey, fuel and medicine.

Women have played a key role in taking the advantage of mangrove resources. In Papua Island, indigenous knowledge regulates woman’s role in mangrove forest.

Recent increase in market demand have pressed for a change into intensive and semi-intensive shrimp farming, with much less respect to local ecosystems and people. Multinational corporations, coupled with the support of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, have expanded intensive shrimp aquaculture in Asia, taking all the access and blocking traditional users’ access to coastal resources. This has meant loss of food, health, income and social and cultural welfare for them.

Shrimp cultivation is the most high-risk process in the shrimp industry, especially after virus attacks that began in 1993 and continue until today. In spite of that, small farmers were encouraged by the government and influenced by the industry to continue investing in this activity. Most of the small farmers became indebted and did not continue the business anymore. The current shrimp owner is mostly the local businessman who bought the ponds from several small indebted farmers.

This modern and large-scale shrimp farming creates major socio-economic problems to the local people, including land conflicts, exploitation of the poor by large corporations, and changes in social structures of local communities. Although coastal communities may in fact have used and cared for the land over a long period, they do not posses formal landownership documents. So, most resistance against shrimp industry has been related to land taking by government and corporations.

Farmer families who lose the land will leave to the cities for low-skill jobs. Woman and children are the most fragile group related to changing in social structures, and in some cases may end up in prostitution. Employment opportunities of shrimp processing factories for the local people are often limited to unskilled and low-paid jobs, such as watchman and harvester. Only few jobs are available to local women, who can be employed as cleaning service and other low skill and part time works.

The current trend in Indonesia is that the traditional farmers are directed to join as satellite farmers in a Nucleus Estate Smallholders Scheme (NESS). Large scale NEES is usually supported by government and provided with high technology. The NESS system is also very biased against women. In large-scale shrimp farming only adult and educated men can hope to get a job. In case of death or inability to work of the smallholder males, women must leave the farming estate, leaving behind all the assets that they had been paying for by credit installment.

The change from traditional to industrial shrimp farming that is rapidly taking place might in the short term benefit the government and the large-scale shrimp investors due to foreign currency generation, but the environmental and social costs associated with the industry by far outstrip the benefits. Local communities are particularly marginalized and exploited and local social structures are threatened by growing tensions and conflicts.

Adapted and excerpted from “Large Scale Shrimp Farming and Impacts on women”, by P. Raja Siregar, Campaigner of WALHI (Friends of The Earth- Indonesia) and Coordinator of Coalition of Anti-Debt Movement. Sent by the author. E-mail: radja@walhi.or.id  . The full document is available.

From: Teresa Perez teresap@wrm.org.uy

Breaking out of the poverty-environmental degradation cycle:
Women and sustainable development in Indonesia

You are a poor widow living in rural Indonesia. You have three children to support and only the most basic of educations. What do you do? If you live in forested area-as much of Indonesia used to be-the answer is simple: you sell wood that you can collect freely. Your children help you, and there is always a need for fuel wood. But what happens when the forest runs out? This is a growing concern in Indonesia, and a focus of the Women’s Union for Equality, an Indonesian NGO that hopes to change patterns such as this one.

Women in Indonesia, as in other developing countries, often lack access to services that could greatly contribute to their quality of life. As the organization notes, violence against women is a continuing problem in Indonesia, as well as persistent social, political, and economic discrimination. They are systematically excluded from decision-making positions: women hold only eight percent of parliamentary seats in Indonesia. Women also suffer from inadequate access to family planning resources. Research has suggested that women in Indonesia comprise the majority of the poor, particularly in the poorest sector of Indonesian society. It is hard to dispute that women are disproportionately affected by poverty.

This is an extensive list of problems to address, especially because in many cases they are interrelated. One of the Women’s Union for Equality (Persatuan Perempuan Sama, or PPS) strategies has been to work towards solutions to problems that emerge in regard to the relationship between women and the environment. Women make up the majority of natural resource managers in Indonesia, and yet paradoxically, they are the ones that tend to have the least access to resources that could aid their management ability. It is in this context that situations such as the one mentioned above arise. How can women escape from cycles of poverty and environmental degradation if they are not aware of their resource management options?

In response to this problem, PPS has begun projects with poor women who harvest mangrove forests in order to make a living. Focusing in one region in the Sulawesi Province, PPS created an initiative in 2003 to help expand women’s choices through training in alternative livelihood practices.

Wangkolabu, the village where the project is taking place, used to be located in an extensive mangrove forest that occupied over 500 hectares (1,200 acres) of land. Today, this area has been reduced to 150 hectares (370 acres) of degraded mangrove forest, mostly due to exploitation for local housing materials and the fuel wood trade. Fishing has traditionally been the staple income provider of this town, but in recent years it has been necessary for people to add on other income generating activities to make ends meet-namely, the sale of fuel wood. However, increases in mangrove harvesting have led to decreases in fish populations, which depend on mangrove habitat, fueling a vicious cycle.

With the help of Global Greengrants funds, PPS was able to develop a program designed to halt, or at least slow, this process. Aimed at helping women maintain income generating projects as well as ecosystem protection and environmental sustainability, PPS conducted a four day participatory workshop in which 20 women-10 of them single parents-learned about the ecological importance of the mangrove and were trained in alternative livelihood practices, enabling them to leave the fuel wood trade. The group identified the central goal of increasing viable fish habitat in the village through mangrove restoration projects, and also included objectives for lowering local consumption of mangrove and establishing a ban on the fuel wood trade. The focus group for this workshop was purposefully comprised of members of Wangkolabu’s most marginalized population, as these are the people that are most likely to contribute to environmental degradation out of economic necessity. It is important to note that Wangkolabu is comprised of 91 families, of which 43 are headed by single women-these women are under intense pressure to provide for their families in a society that devalues women’s work.

This success story is not the only example of proactive, community-based participatory projects that PPS has helped to initiate. In fact, in Kuala Sungai Pinang on Penang Island, a PPS project in 2000 laid the groundwork-literally-for continued ecosystem restoration. This project consisted of the construction of what are known as “empang parit”, or dredged out ditch ponds, which, when paired with extensive mangrove planting, create attractive habitat for various fish species. In cooperation with rural indigenous women’s groups living around degraded mangrove forests, PPS built an empang parit to demonstrate how women can improve both fish habitat and, as a result, their long-term income levels. Over 5,000 mangrove saplings have so far been planted, and women now have the knowledge to continue mangrove restoration projects into the future. Furthermore, as a result of the success of this project, PPS has been granted a substantial amount of funds by the Indonesian government in order to continue the work on Muna Island, where they have identified a target group of over 3,000 indigenous people.

Both of these projects help PPS to achieve its overall goals: the equal participation of women in public policy making, an increased role of women in natural resource management, and the decrease of the “feminization” of poverty. Environmental protection provides a framework that promotes women’s empowerment, as they are the ones that are trained in project development and implementation, restoration methods, and livelihood training. As women increase their leadership ability, with the help of groups such as PPS and Global Greengrants, the cycle of environmental degradation and women’s poverty is well on its way to being broken.
Jessica Sherman, March 2004

From: jessica.sherman@colorado.edu

———-
Vietnam

U.S.-Vietnam Ties Raise Hopes, Hackles
Determined to Increase Trade, Communist Leaders Court Former Enemies
WASHINGTON POST

By Alan Sipress, Washington Post Foreign Service Saturday, March 6, 2004; Page A12

HA TINH, Vietnam — Huu Dinh clambers up the steps to the roof of his one-story office building and points like a general into the distance where his sprawling empire of man-made shrimp ponds melts into themists of central Vietnam’s coastal plain.
“Last year, if you came here, all you’d see is sand,” said Dinh, 48, a
stocky man with a white ball cap pulled down over thinning black hair.
“For a thousand years, nobody touched it. Nobody did anything with it. When I started, people said I’d be facing disaster.”

Dinh’s success has been fueled by the decisive turn in relations
between Vietnam and the United States over the past year, described by officials on both sides as the most significant improvement in relations since they were normalized in 1995. Dinh raised 1,000 tons of shrimp last year, exporting half to the United States, a tenfold increase since a bilateral trade agreement took effect two years ago.

But the new intimacy between the two countries has also created a raft of irritants, most notably an anti-dumping suit filed in the United States against Vietnamese shrimp exporters that threatens to drain the profits from Dinh’s ponds just as he is planning to triple the sizeof his Ha Tinh farm.

During the last year, trade between the two countries has doubled,
reaching about $6 billion annually, according to U.S. and Vietnamese figures. The United States is now Vietnam’s largest export market, with clothing, shoes, furniture and seafood making up the bulk of the goods.

“No one was expecting it would be so dramatic, the change that we’ve had,” said a Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The economic progress in turn has driven closer ties across a spectrum of issues, breaking a logjam in relations….
The Vietnamese have repeatedly discovered that Americans do not always appreciate their gusto in penetrating the U.S. market. Vietnam’s largest export to the United States is textiles. Last year, the Vietnamese government grudgingly agreed to a cap on exports demanded by Washington.

Vietnamese officials were less accommodating when U.S. producers sued Vietnam’s catfish exporters, alleging that they were dumping their fish on the U.S. market at below cost. Vietnam lost that case and the Department of Commerce imposed tariffs on catfish imports of between 36 to 64 percent. The Vietnamese have now appealed to the U.S. Court of International Trade.

Now, a new battle over Vietnamese shrimp exports to the United States valued at $450 million a year has been joined in Washington.

Vietnam’s reaction this time is more practical and less polemical, a measure of how quickly the relationship between the two countries has matured. “It is normal that when you start to have business, you start to have problems,” Dung said. “After the catfish dispute, we learned how to do business.”

Vietnamese officials said they had stepped up efforts to lobby the U.S. administration and strike political alliances in Washington to protect their interests. Vietnamese shrimp producers have also hired a major U.S. corporate law firm, Willkie, Farr and Gallagher, after conducting what one lawyer involved called a “tortuous,” year-long competition among at least seven foreign firms.

“It shows that Vietnam is learning by doing, by integrating into the
world economy,” said Nguyen Hong Duong, deputy director for Europe and America in the Ministry of Trade. “We’re getting familiar with the game and how to play in international trade now.”

Huu Dinh became a shrimp entrepreneur after returning from the United States, where he had lived since he was a teenager.

He developed three shrimp farms in northern Vietnam before turning to the impoverished Ha Tinh province, wedged between the mountains and the sea. He decided to establish the largest shrimp farm in the country here, encouraged by the prospect of exporting to the United States under the reduced tariffs and higher banking standards fostered by the bilateral trade agreement, he said.

On a recent afternoon, Dinh surveyed his domain, taking stock of how he has transformed the landscape. Riding with his chauffeur in a white Lexus, he drove along the earthen wall running beside his ponds, which he had scooped an acre at a time from some of the poorest soil in Vietnam. Dinh also carved a broad, mile-long canal to carry water to the farm and erected a mile of overhead electrical lines to power an oceanfront pump for the pipeline serving his new shrimp hatchery.

Laborers are finishing the complex of low buildings to house the brood stock, flown in from Hawaii, in temperature-controlled tanks. “You can turn sand into something,” Dinh said, his smile widening. “I’m amazing even myself.”

He bridles at the accusation from U.S. shrimpers that Vietnamese are exporting below cost and he vows to fight the case.

“I’d be in deep, deep trouble if I can’t send shrimp to the United
States,” he said. “Who’s going to pay the bank interest for me? Who’s going to pay my employees?”

Dinh is gambling that the United States will continue to offer him
opportunity as it has repeatedly during his life. He has already
developed 1,500 acres of ponds at Ha Tinh and expects to have a total of 5,000 acres shortly. He is close to completing another shrimp farm and working on two more. He aims to produce 7,000 tons of shrimp this year, a sevenfold increase from last year, he said.

“The game plan is on the move,” he said. “It’s impossible to reverse
it.”
From: “Andrianna Natsoulas”
———-

S. ASIA

Bangladesh

Bangladesh says tiger numbers burning bright

By Reuters March 11, 2004
DHAKA � The number of tigers in Bangladesh’s part of the world’s largest mangrove swamp has risen to around 500 from 362 a decade ago, a triumph for environmentalists battling to preserve the endangered big cat.

Shahjahan Siraj, Bangladesh’s Minister for the Environment and Forests, told a news conference that a recent count suggested the royal Bengal tiger may be making a comeback in the Sundarbans after numbers dwindled from 450 in 1982 to around 360 in 1993.

“A primary analysis of the paw prints hints that the number of tigers might be around 500,” he said.

The Sundarbans, which stretches into India’s West bengal state, is about 400 km (250 miles) southwest of Dhaka and is home to a large variety of wildlife. But its chief attraction is the beautiful tiger � the largest big cat in the world.

Siraj said the tiger enumerators had scoured the 6,000-sq-km (2,320-sq-mile) Bangladesh wetland and swamps from Feb. 26 to March 3 and collected 1,546 tiger paw prints or pug marks.

“Plaster of Paris molds of the pug marks will also help ascertain age, weight, and gender of individual animals,” the minister said.

Forest officials said increased surveillance against poaching and lower human interference in the wildlife had helped the tiger population to recover.

Authorities put increased efforts in protection of the Sundarbans after the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation declared the area a World Heritage site in 1997.

India counted the tigers in its 4,000-sq-km (1,545-sq-mile) portion of the Sundarbans in January, but those figures have not yet been released.

The Sundarbans form a fragile ecosystem that is being ravaged by the pressures of population and the weak enforcement of environmental regulations.

About 3 million people live in the portion of the swamps that belong to Bangladesh, and 3.5 million more reside in the Indian portion in the neighbouring state of West Bengal.

URL: ENN

From: Zakir Kibria

Shatkhira Sundarbans Deforestation for Shrimp Culture: Forest official suspended, 11 others transferred
The Daily Star, March 6, 2004

The Sandarbans Station Officer in Kaikhali, Golam Rabbani, has been suspended for negligence in duty following felling of trees on about five acres of forest area by some local influentials allegedly for building a shrimp enclosure.

Eleven other forest officials and staff have been transferred from the station in Shatkhira district.

Divisional Forest Officer (DPO) Badrul Alam Bhuiya took the action on February 29 after a probe, official sources said.

The forest department has filed a case against three persons –Rashedul Gazi, Ebadul Gazi and Moktar Gazi of Bhetkhali in Shyamnagar upazila — for felling the trees for shrimp cultivation.

They took away several hundred Geoa, Kewra and Hetal trees from Compartment No 47 in Kaikhali near Golkhali village in Shyamnagar upazila in January, forest official Kazi Karim said quoting from the probe report.

The probe was done by forest officials Nurul Amin and Kazi Nurul Karim, Karim said.

During a recent visit to the area some local people told this correspondent that some influential groups had been eyeing the Suandarbans for long to grab land for shrimp cultivation.

The Kaikhali Forest Station covers 1,51,351 acres of land. Human habitation has been separated from the Sundarbans by building an embankment.

The trees from the five-acre area were felled within two weeks from the last week of January in connivance with a section of corrupt forest officials, they alleged.

When contacted, Rashidul Gazi and Moktar Guzi said they cut the trees as tigers from bushes there often come to nearby shrimp farms, threatening life of security guards. They said their intention was not to grab the Sundarbans land.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

Sundarbans: Back to the wall, fishermen take to logging

URL: THE DAILY STAR

Sundarbans’ poor farmers and fishermen are increasingly resorting to illegal logging and poaching to survive in the face of a government ban on catching shrimp fry, depleting precious plant and wildlife resources of the world’s largest mangrove forest.

Coupled with a poor aman harvest this season, the ban on shrimp fry has snatched the livelihood of subsistence farmers and fishermen, who constitute around 80 percent of the population living on the fringes of the forest, depending solely on netting fish fry and collecting forest resources.

Last December, the government imposed the ban to protect the fish in the area as harvesting shrimp fry also means a large number of other fish fry end up dead in the fisherman’s net.

According to the Department of Forest, anywhere between 80,000 and 150,000 people of the 17 upazilas around the forest scratch out a living from catching shrimp in a network of 450 canals and rivers in addition to collecting other forest resources.

But with the ban in place, they are unable to pay back dadon or seasonal loan they traditionally take from money lenders during off season every year. Consequently, a rising tide of poor people are resorting to illegal logging and poaching.

“We live from hand to mouth catching fish fry, but the ban has put us out of work. So when our children cry for food, we have no choice but to pick up the axe and head for the forest. We are helpless and you people can not save the forest staying at the capital, unless the government finds an alternative means of livelihood for us,” said Abdul Latif of Joymuni village under Chandpai range.

During a recent field trip to the village, this correspondent found that people there cannot afford rice daily.

“Today I cooked rice and kochu (a sort of arum). But we can’t have rice every day and eat boiled potatoes with salt,” said a jobless Momtaz Begum, who used to eke out a living from netting shrimp. Other poor families of the village have the same story to tell as do the people of neighbouring villages of Sundartala, Banshtala, Chila, Haldibuniya and Kaan Mari.

Even last year, these families harvested 10 to 12 maunds of aman paddy per bigha, but this year per bigha yield was only two to three maunds.

Lutfar Rahman Sana, a money lender of Joymuni, does not know how to get back his money from borrowers — mostly shrimp fry catchers. “I know they do not have any source of income to pay me back,” he said.

“Unless the government can arrange for an alternative source of income for these desperately poor people, it will be impossible to save the forest,” said a forest official requesting anonymity.

At the inauguration ceremony of the recently concluded tiger census at the Sundarbans, Environment and Forest Minister Shajahan Siraj acknowledged the gravity of the situation saying alternative employment opportunities should have been created for local residents over the years after independence. “But the governments have failed to do that,” the minister conceded.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

Eco-huts to be built in Sundarbans

The Daily Star, February 26, 2004.
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday told the Jatiya Sangsad that the government has undertaken a plan to set up eco-huts at various points of the Sundarbans in a bid to attract tourists.

Replying to a question from M Nurul Islam, the PM said the huts would help both foreign and local tourists witness the beauty of the world’s largest mangrove forest.

A bio-diversity protection project was being implemented in the Sundarbans at a cost of about Tk 400 crore to develop tourism, set up eco-huts and save trees, she added.

Khaleda also said there is a plan to spend about Tk 1.3 crore from the non-development budget of the current fiscal for promotion of eco-tourism.

She said the project would also raise government’s revenue earnings and create alternative employment opportunities for the people dependent on the Sundarbans.

She also told the House that tenders had been floated for the project and a policy was adopted to turn existing structures in the Sundarbans into eco-huts.

From: Zakir Kibria

Switzerland to help produce organic shrimps for exports
BSS, Dhaka

URL: THE DAILY STAR

Switzerland yesterday expressed its keen interest in helping Bangladesh to produce organic shrimps at traditional farms to fetch more export earnings from European countries.

“Bangladesh shrimps have big potential in Switzerland and other European countries as demands for such fish are very high there,” Jurg Casserini, charge d’ affaires of the Swiss Embassy in Dhaka, said at a dialogue.

Swiss embassy organised the dialogue with shrimp producers, exporters and policymakers as part of the visit of Markus Stern, an executive of a Swiss business promotion firm. Markus Stern arrived in Dhaka on a four-day visit to help promote Bangladesh exports to Switzerland and other European countries.

Stern said the organic shrimps have 20 percent higher price than that of the traditional shrimps. The price is not an important factor for the European buyers, he said adding that the buyers were more prone to costly but quality foods than that of cheaper ones.

Bangladesh could earn more from the exports of organic shrimps, the fish which is produced without using any inorganic substances like fertiliser and chemicals, said Markus Stern.

“The shrimp we are producing now is almost organic,” Secretary General of Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) Mahmudul Hasan claimed in the dialogue. The claim was, however, refuted immediately by the Swiss charge d’ affaires saying that there was no scope of ‘almost’ in case of shrimps which must be ‘fully organic.�

From: Zakir Kibria

OCEANIA
New Caledonia

Note: Please Contact Point Zéro / Base Line For Complete Article.

Following the Money Trail: Unanswered Questions
Mining and Export Credit Finance in Kanaky/New Caledonia

Stephanie Fried, Ph.D.1 and Rick Anex
January, 2004

Background: Biodiversity and Nickel Mining in Kanaky/New Caledonia

Kanaky or New Caledonia, a country under French rule in the Southwestern Pacific, is one of the most unusual biodiversity hotspots on earth. A remnant of ancient Gondwanaland , the main island, La Grand Terre, separated from Australia some 85 million years ago and has existed in isolation from other land masses, surrounded by deep ocean trenches.3 Kanaky contains the largest concentration of nickel laterites in the world (approximately 20% of the known reserves) and contains 75% of the reefs and lagoons under French control.4 Due to the country’s geological history, isolated location and unusual soils which are poor in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous and rich in chromium, magnesium, nickel, iron and cobalt – elements usually toxic to plants – over 75% of the country’s plant species are endemic and are found nowhere else on earth. Some of New Caledonia’s terrestrial ecosystems have rates of endemism as high as 91%.5 Kanaky is home to extraordinary “living fossils” including 18 species of the Winteraceae family of plants which date back 120 million years, to the age of dinosaurs.6

Surrounded by an extraordinary barrier reef – the second largest in the world, after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – Kanaky contains one of the world’s largest lagoon systems. The location of Kanaky’s reefs relative to prevailing currents and temperature regimes has allowed them to remain relatively unscathed by recent massive coral bleaching events which have had profound impacts on the reefs of neighboring Australia and throughout the Pacific.7 This little-researched reef and lagoon system – occupying close to 10 million acres (44,000 km2) – is home to a vast number of marine species including many found nowhere else on earth.8

Recently, marine researchers discovered over 2,700 species of marine molluscs at one Kanaky site, alone – several times the number of species than those recorded from any other comparable area in the world.9 This recent discovery and other current analyses of Kanaky marine molluscs is likely to force an upward recalculation of the total number of living species on Earth.10

In January 2002, after pressure by courageous indigenous Kanak leaders and local environmentalists, the French government proposed New Caledonia’s reef ecosystems for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In March, 2002, sixty-two coastal and marine scientific experts convened in Hanoi, Vietnam and concluded that the reefs of New Caledonia were of “Outstanding Universal Value” in terms of their biodiversity attributes, placing these reefs at the top of priority list for World Heritage designation in the Pacific.11 The UNESCO process, however, has since been blocked and the nomination has not progressed. The French Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development has stated that France now prefers to “work with international mining companies…to ensure environmental protection” instead of seeking World Heritage status for the reefs.

Given the nickel-rich soils, and a recent “World Nickel Meeting” held in the country, large international mining companies are preparing to initiate massive mining operations on indigenous lands in this fragile island ecosystem. In addition, there are plans for the development of large-scale industrial shrimp aquaculture operations. There are indications that both mining and aquaculture companies are attempting to secure international finance, including ECA support, for their proposed ventures. This paper focuses on the provision of public finance for mining sector. The potential impact of public finance on the aquaculture sector will be examined in a later paper.

Mining and Public Finance

New Caledonia has sometimes been called the “El Dorado of Nickel” by the international mining community. However, international nickel prices have not been stable and civil unrest appears to be on the increase locally. Under conditions of clear political and commercial risk, it is likely that transnational mining companies and their investment partners are seeking methods of shifting the risk burden to the public sector, especially through the utilization of various forms of public finance and political risk insurance from ECAs in their countries of origin…..

 

  1. Environmental Defense, P.O. Box 520, Waimanalo, Hawai’i, 96734 U.S.A. stephf@environmentaldefense.org
  2. “Point Zéro / Base Line “, courriel : pointzero@canl.nc , Nouméa, New Caledonia. Rick Anex, courriel : dakuwaqa@lagoon.nc
  3. Identified by scientists as one of the world’s top ten biodiversity “hotspots” in Meyers, N , cited in “Radiatoin of crenobiontic gastropods on an ancient continental island: the Hemistomia-clade in New Caledonia”, M. Haase and P. Bouchet, Hydrobiologia 367: 43 – 129. 1998
  4. French Embassy, In Depth Review: Region: New Caledonia. New Caledonia was an Overseas Territory of France until May 1998. After the signing of the Noumea Accord in 1999, New Caledonia became a “French Overseas Country”. www.info-france-usa.org
  5. Jaffre, T, P. Bouchet, J-M Veillon, “Threatened plants of New Caledonia: Is the system of protected areas adequate?”, in Biodiversity and Conservation, 7, 109-135 (1998).
  6. Lowry, P. “Diversity, Endemism, and Extinction in the Flora and vegetation of New Caledonia,” Missouri Botannical Garden, 1996.
  7. Lough, J. “Analyses of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in vicinity of New Caledonia (1-degree latitude x 1-degree longitude box centred on 20.5oS, 164.5oE) using data from UK Hadley Centre (1871-1999) and IGOSS-NMC (2000-2002).” Australian Institute of Marine Science, January, 2003.
  8. According to an IFRECOR (French Coral Reef Initiative) report on the state of the environment in New Caledonia, the rich marine biodiversity of New Caledonia’s reef systems has “scarcely been studied by biologists.” IFRECOR cites an ORSTOM report indicating potentially 15,000 marine species, but concludes, given that “many areas have never been explored…it is likely that biodiversity is even higher.” IFRECOR, “State of the Environment in New Caledonia”. www.environnement.gouv.fr/ifrecor .
  9. Bouchet, P, P. Lozouet, P. Maestrati, V. Heros, “Assessing the magnitude of species richness in tropical marine environments: exceptionally high numbers of molluscs at a New Caledonia site”, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2002, 75, 421-436.
  10. ibid
  11. “World Heritage Marine Biodiversity Workshop: Filling Critical Gaps and Promoting Multi-Site Approaches to New Nominations of Tropical Coastal, Marine and Small Island Ecosystems,” Hanoi, Vietnam: 25 February to 1 March, 2002. “Hanoi Report”, June 17, 2002, Draft version.

From Point Zéro / Base Line pointzero@canl.nc

LATIN AMERICA
Brazil

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Brazil’s Shrimp Caught Up in a Trade War

By LARRY ROHTER , March 10, 2004

ITAPISSUMA, Brazil – The shrimp farms that have sprung up all along the coast here are one of Brazil’s great success stories, cited by
government officials as an example of the country’s ability to compete on world markets. From 1998 to 2003, Brazil’s shrimp exports jumped from a mere 400 tons to more than 58,000 (tons), with a third of that going to the United States.

During the boom, few companies have prospered more than Netuno S.A., which grows shrimp in 64 ponds at an 1,850-acre farm here and also buys from scores of other producers throughout the region. Founded 15 years ago as a modest market selling fish and lobster to local customers and hotels, Netuno is now Brazil’s largest single exporter of shrimp to the United States.

“Like everyone else in Brazil, we started off late in this business,
without a formula for exporting,” said Hugo Campos, the industrial
production director. “The idea was to grow as much as we could, and the boom in world demand for shrimp has been our path to success.”

Now, though, producers here are facing a serious new challenge in their biggest market. On Dec. 31, the Southern Shrimp Alliance filed a dumping complaint against Brazil and five other countries, seeking to impose tariffs of up to 300 percent, and last month the Commerce Department ruled that there were grounds to proceed because there were indications of a “danger of injury” to American producers.

“We’re really getting killed over here,” Eddie Gordon, president of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, said in a telephone interview from Mount Pleasant, S.C. “Prices are so low that our boat owners can’t even afford to go out shrimping, and that’s because the product is being sold against what all our trade agreements are.”

Brazilian shrimp growers deny that they have engaged in unfair trade practices, arguing that they are merely benefiting from a natural competitive advantage. They point to significantly lower labor costs, the availability of cheap land and, above all, a benevolent tropical climate that allows them not only higher productivity per acre, but three harvests a year.

Politically, the dispute could hardly be more inconveniently timed.
Though Brazil and the United States are the leaders of the talks aimed at establishing a Free Trade Area of the Americas by the end of this year, the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has expressed doubts about the desirability of such an accord, sometimes in piquant terms.

Specifically, Brazil fears that the United States is trying to impose a
free trade accord that will not remove the subsidies and other barriers that have limited Latin America’s exports of agricultural products to the United States. Until the Bush administration yields on that point, the Brazilians and their allies argue, there is no point talking about fully opening markets here to more American
goods and services.

In that atmosphere of suspicion, the shrimp case is seen here as
politically motivated and abusive. As Brazilian government officials and news reports have repeatedly pointed out, the Southern Shrimp Alliance represents shrimpers in eight states, including Florida and Texas, and this is an election year.

Producers here and in the other five mostly Asian countries named in the complaint are supported by the American Seafood Distributors Association. That group, which represents supermarkets, processors, restaurants and hotels, says it is American shrimpers who are engaging in unfair trade practices.

“A continued supply of imported shrimp is critical to consumers and
seafood companies because it cannot be replaced by increased domestic production,” the group argues in a recent document. “Current efforts to restrict trade in these circumstances constitute pure protectionism.”

The dumping complaint does not contend that Brazil is selling shrimp on the American market below the cost of production, the most common definition of dumping. Rather, it contends that Brazil is price gouging by selling its product below “fair market value,” an assertion that shrimp farmers here dismiss as not reflecting market realities.

“The producer in Brazil doesn’t dictate the price of the product, which is set by a company in the United States,” said Itamar Rocha, president of the Brazilian Association of Shrimp Growers. “We’re completely at the mercy of the middleman, who is already forcing us to sacrifice on prices, and yet they still concoct this case against us.”

An even more fundamental difference, however, has to do with the
economic differences between farmed and sea-caught shrimp. Most shrimp produced in the United States comes from trawlers plying the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, while almost all production here, as in Asia, is done on farms.

“It’s like trying to compare vinyl discs and CD’s,” said Luiz Claudio
Duarte, a lawyer with the firm of Cameron & Hornbostel who is
representing Brazilian shrimp farmers in the dispute. “Raising shrimp in captivity is not the same as going out to sea to capture them, and so this complaint is totally absurd.”

Shrimp producers here argue that there is simply no way for American shrimpers operating from trawlers to compete against more efficient farms. Production in the United States has stalled over the last decade, they maintain, because of the vagaries of weather, overfishing, high costs and a reluctance to embrace aquaculture.

“We saw the writing on the wall,” said Mark Kleinberg, an American who formerly had a shrimp fleet in Brownsville, Tex., and has shifted
operations to northeast Brazil. “Shrimp boats cannot compete because insurance premiums and the cost of diesel fuel, repairs and maintenance are so high, and if you try to keep that around, you’re just dragging out the misery.”

But American shrimpers dispute that claim. “All we are doing is
harvesting, which is cheaper than trying to raise shrimp yourself,” Mr. Gordon said. “It’s much harder and requires a lot more effort and cost to raise shrimp larvae and build a pond for them than to just go out to harvest them at sea.”

NY TIMES

From: “Andrianna Natsoulas”

Honduras

The “MALINCHES” MINISTERS

(Jorge Varela M�rquez, February 25, 2004)

Meditating on an Editorial of the journalist Mairena Tercero about a famous indigenous woman “Malinche” that offered herself to be at service of the Spanish in order to make easy the conquest of her country fellows in Mexico, we contribute with what we think is other case of “malinchismo” precisely in these moments when a Spaniard, assisted by ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS, is destroying the Protected Area and part of the RAMSAR SITE 1000th, “Laguna de la Berberia” in the Gulf of Fonseca.

At this precise moment, February 24 of 2004, the Spanish Antonio Cano, in charge of the shrimp company El Faro, is destroying what is left of the Protected Area La Berberia, and he continues turning it into a shrimp farm, with the complicity of the “environmentalal” bureaucracy of the present Government.

Well what happens is that this lagoon went along thousands of hectares of coastal wetlands, constituted by salt flats and mangroves, that in the rainy season particularly, was the refuge of an ample biological diversity of coastal marine species among them: fish, crustaceans, mollusks, mammals, reptiles, native and migratory birds, etc., which gave food, income and recreation to thousands of peasants that went there to fish and hunt in such productive ecosystems.

When the shrimp industry establishes itself without any order or control in Honduras, citizens of different origins get there to build shrimp farms in the zone of “La Berberia” and other nearby lagoons, reducing it considerably. Transfers of concessions of State lands would be worthy of investigation on the part of the Office against the corruption· it will work, for example in the following case:

In 1989 the Ex-Minister of Environment, Elvin Ernesto Santos, gets 2000 Has as concession in the heart of “La Berberia”, having a two year-old term to begin the construction of a shrimp farms, activity that never starts because fishermen impede it.

On July 10 of 1999, “La Berberia” is designed part of the RAMSAR SITE 1000th and on January 20 of 2000 it is declared Protected Areas by the National Congress and it passed also to be part of the “Mesoamerican Biological Corridor

With this it is supposed that what is left of “La Berberia” was saved.

But in 2001, the EX-MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, ELVIN ERNESO SANTOS, gave, (or sold?) to the shrimp company, El Faro, which is commanded by the Spaniard Antonio Cano, the concession on “La Berberia”.

In 2002 the EX-MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT XIOMARA GOMEZ, a few days before leaving her position, gave the Environmental License on the Protected Area “La Berberia” to the shrimp farm El Faro, knowing that this area is protected since two years before by an international commitment and a Decree of the National Congress. (Ignorance or corruption?)

On April 1 of 2002, CODDEFFAGOLF presented a revision appeal before the MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, PATRICIA PANTING, against the Environmental License given to El Faro.

At the beginning of 2003, taking advantage of the dry season and the lack of resolve on the part of Minister Panting, El Faro began to destroy a large part of La Berberia in order to expand its shrimp farms. Fishermen protested, and three times they expelled the bulldozers that would destroy their lagoon. The current Mayor of El Triunfo, Santos Pineda, and the governor of Choluteca, Fausto Cabrera (who himself is also an employee of El Faro) defend the company at all cost· (malinchismo· corruption· or?…) the Spaniard, Antonio Cano, accused several fishermen and also Jorge Varela, Executive Director of CODDEFFAGOLF, before the Public Ministry for “damages, usurpation and threats”. In this case, the District Attorney’s Office with the assistance of the Police immediately came to the service of the requirements of the Spaniard, Antonio Cano. The destruction culminated unpunished, and in 2004 the company has already exported shrimp.

Since 2003, the MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, PATRICIA PANTING, has allowed the destruction of the Protected Area, La Berberia. El Faro converts it into a shrimp farms, without resolving the ussues raised by the fishermen interposed through CODDEFFAGOLF.

In February of 2004, protected by the accomplice silence of the MINISTER PANTING and all the environmental bureaucracy, El Faro continues enlarging implacably.

While the poor people of Honduras are deprived of their vital basic resources, the “Political Malinches” in high and low positions of the State Ministries and then out of them, are proud because with their betrayal exports get higher and higher, and they pay no attention to the poor people that are getting poorer· poorer and poorer· and in the case of the “Environmental Malinches”, they ignore the environmental damage that the nation, and actually all of humanity are receiving.

(*) Corrupt
(**) Corruption

From Jorge Varela, (CODDEFFAGOLF)
cgolf@sdnhon.org.hn

NORTH AMERICA
USA

So Much Shrimp
Sure, it’s abundant. But it’s hard for a consumer to know where it’s
from, how it’s raised and if it’s safe.

By Walter Nicholls
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 25, 2004; Page F01

What has American shrimp fishermen so steamed?

For the second year in a row, shrimp has beaten out tuna as the
country’s favorite seafood, according to the National Fisheries
Institute. Shrimp is abundant and popular everywhere from suburban chain restaurants to Embassy Row.

At Red Lobster’s 649 restaurants in the United States and Canada
customers are offered a meal of what the restaurant calls “endless”
fried and broiled shrimp for $13.99.

On the Washington party circuit “people chase the waiters around the room for shrimp,” says Eric Michael, co-owner of Occasions Caterers on
Capitol Hill.

Still, shrimp fishermen from the Carolinas to Texas say it’s not their
shrimp, for the most part, that people are peeling or chasing.

The total value of the U.S. shrimp harvest plunged more than 50 percent between 2000 and 2002, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). American shrimpers say since 2000 the wholesale price for domestic, wild-harvested (as opposed to farm-raised) medium shrimp has dropped from an average of $6 per pound to a current $3.80.

“Hundreds of boats are tied up and banks are repossessing boats.
Shrimpers can’t make ends meet,” says John Williams, a shrimp fisherman for 37 years in Tarpon Springs, Fla., in a telephone interview. Recently, Williams and some of his fellow fishermen decided that enough was enough.

The culprit? Shrimp fishermen cannot compete with bargain-priced,
farm-raised shrimp imported to the United States from more than 50
countries, a supply that now represents 88 percent of the U.S. market. The remaining 12 percent is domestic, whether wild or farm-raised, according to the NMFS.

On the last day of December, the Southern Shrimp Alliance, an
organization of shrimp fishermen and shrimp processors from eight
southeastern states, filed formal complaints with the Department of
Commerce. In these documents they allege that some of the world’s
largest producers of farm-raised shrimp — Brazil, China, Ecuador,
India, Thailand and Vietnam — are selling shrimp in the United States at a lower price than they sell it in their home market, a practice known as dumping, which U.S. shrimpers say increases the import’s market share at an unfair advantage and breaches practices of fair trade.

Last week the International Trade Commission (ITC), an independent federal agency that provides expertise on the impact of imports on U.S. industries, agreed in a 6-0 vote that the U.S. shrimp industry has been injured by increased imports from the six countries. The commerce department will now proceed with an investigation, which may take one year to complete. Tariffs, if any, will be imposed at the outcome by the U.S. Customs Service.

Shrimpers say they know why ever-increasing levels of foreign shrimp are entering the United States at lower prices.

“First of all, these countries have overstimulated their production
over a number of years. On top of that, the European Union has imposed tariffs up to 20 percent. Demand from Japan has declined. Then there are the health issues,” says Deborah Regan, a spokeswoman for the U.S. shrimpers’ group. “EU countries have had higher quality standards for testing for banned chemicals that show up in farm-raised shrimp. And what happens? The U.S. becomes a dumping ground.”

Last year the ITC ruled that Vietnam illegally dumped catfish on the
U.S. market, and the United States subsequently imposed tariffs ranging from 37 percent to 64 percent on the country’s frozen fillets.

The Vietnamese are denying accusations involving their shrimp exports.

“We are definitely not dumping shrimp,” says Minh Vu, head counsel of the economic section of the Embassy of Vietnam in Washington. “Our products are lower priced because of our advanced technology, lower labor costs and our natural resources.”
Click here!

American shrimp farmers stand behind the U.S. shrimp fishermen. “We’re very supportive. We’re U.S. shrimp producers too,” says Fritz Jaenike, general manager of the Texas-based Harlingen Shrimp Farms, the largest producer of shrimp in the United States.

Intensive shrimp farming is a relatively young industry. Large-scale
shrimp aquaculture began in the early 1970s in Asian countries,
particularly in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, and has been
evolving.

Early, primitive farms were situated in cleared and dammed mangrove swamps in coastal areas. Water pollution went unchecked as farm waste in the form of chemical fertilizers used to promote the growth of algae (which is used as shrimp food) was flushed into a nearby coastal sea or iver system. Health standards for the shrimp were poor, and diseases spread quickly. Environmental groups voiced widespread criticism of
shrimp farm practices.

But decades of technological advances have made shrimp aquaculture farms, constructed of multi-acre concrete ponds with sophisticated water exchange systems, more competitive and, in some cases, more environmentally friendly, though environmental groups continue to be concerned about their impact. Disease-resistant species of shrimp are more common, especially the white-shaded variety litopenaeus vannamei, commonly referred to as the vanna white.

If the U.S. Customs does impose tariffs on select countries it is
unclear what effect tariffs will have on retail prices. In a recent
spot-check at Whole Foods Market, 26-30 count, previously frozen,
farm-raised shrimp were selling for $9.99 per pound. The same size of fresh, wild shrimp from Georgia was $12.99. At Jessie Taylor Seafood on Maine Avenue in Southwest Washington, previously frozen, domestic, wild-harvested shrimp and imported farm-raised shrimp ranged in price from what the market called “super saver” shrimp at $8.45 per pound to “super giant” at $18.95 per pound.

Southern Shrimp Alliance members say the wholesale value of shrimp has dropped to the lowest level in 40 years. Consumers have seen a modest dip in prices. “Prices have definitely gone down — I’d say $1.50 to $2 a pound at retail in the last two years,” says Leif Klassen, owner of
Swedish Fish, a wholesaler in Arlington.

But are these farmed shrimp safe to eat? There are similarities in the way farmed shrimp and farmed salmon are raised.

David O. Carpenter is director of the Institute for Health and the
Environment at New York’s State University at Albany (SUNY) and chief author of the two-year study published in January in the journal Science that concluded that farm-raised salmon contains significantly higher concentrations of PCBs, dioxin and other cancer-causing contaminants and should be eaten infrequently.

“I would say [farmed] shrimp are probably not contaminated if they are fed a primarily grain diet. But people need to know how the shrimp are fed,” says Carpenter. “Our results suggest that salmon is the worst of foods, but the real problem is recycled animal fats in what we eat. People have to be made aware of it and the consequences.”

Feed formulas vary from farm to farm but basically are composed of a combination of soybean meal, cornmeal and sometimes squid meal and, unfortunately, fish oils.

“The problem is with added oils in the feeds. And with salmon, there
tends to be more oils in the feed. Contaminants go to the fat,” says Jim McVey, program director of aquaculture for National Sea Grant, an agency of the Department of Commerce. “All living things have contaminants. But I’m comfortable, as a consumer, saying that the majority of our shrimp are perfectly fine.”

In June 2002 the FDA announced an increase in sampling of imported shrimp to determine the presence of chloramphenicol, a potent antibiotic used to fight serious infections in humans and by some shrimp farmers to control bacterial growth in ponds. “Due to the unpredictable effects of dose on different patient populations, it has not been possible to identify a safe level of human exposure to chloramphenicol,” agency officials wrote in the news release.

Last week, in a revised import alert, the FDA announced that
chloramphenicol was detected last year in some frozen shrimp imports from Brazil, China, Malaysia, Peru, Thailand and Vietnam and went on to say: “The use of the unapproved new animal drugs will have an impact on the safety of aquaculture products for consumers.” No antibiotics are currently approved by the FDA for use with shrimp.

The ongoing trade issues and health concerns have an impact on
consumers. If shoppers choose to buy fresh shrimp from domestic waters they will pay a premium price. If they buy imported, previously frozen shrimp, they often have no way of knowing in which country it was raised or how. In addition, there are a confusing number of varieties and sizes. Overall, there are no guarantees.

“A lot of people lie when they say it’s fresh and never been frozen.
But most of the time, you get what you pay for,” says Klassen of Swedish Fish. He is not a fan of the “tiger” variety of shrimp, which he calls “lousy.” “They are not comparable to good shrimp,” he says. Fresh or frozen, he prefers a white shell shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. “That’s a good shrimp with lots of flavor.”

Jeff Grolig, owner of River Falls Seafood in Potomac, says consumers
should ask to touch and smell shrimp before they buy it.

“What you want is a hard shell. That will ensure that the meat won’t shrink up when it’s boiled or steamed,” he says. The shell should be shiny and bright and free of black spots, which signal decay. There should be no odor other than the slight smell of the sea.

Grolig has his own favorite varieties: gray-colored shrimp from North
Carolina, pink shrimp from Key West and brown shelled shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. If you can find them, he says, “Man, you’ll be
overwhelmed by the texture and taste.”

WASHINGTON POST

STORIES/ISSUES
Corals, Seagrass and Mangroves, Essential Ingrdients

3/9/04
CONTACT: Dawn Levy, News Service: (650) 725-1944, dawnlevy@stanford.edu

COMMENT: Fiorenza Micheli, Hopkins Marine Station: (831) 655-6250, micheli@stanford.edu

Stephen Palumbi, Hopkins Marine Station: (831) 655-6210, spalumbi@stanford.edu

EDITORS: This release was written by Joy Ku, a postdoctoral researcher in the Pediatric Cardiology and Mechanical Engineering departments at Stanford.

Relevant Web URLs:

Fiorenza Micheli’s home page.

Stephen Palumbi’s home page:
Saving Nemo: New insights into coral reef ecosystems provide guidelines for marine policies in the Bahamas

The Bahamas conjures up images of intense blue waters and sun-drenched beaches for most of us. But it means much more than that for Stanford marine scientists Stephen Palumbi and Fiorenza Micheli and visiting scholar James Sanchirico from Resources for the Future, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. These researchers are key participants in a project called the Bahamas Biocomplexity Project (BBP). This collaborative study aims to provide a multidisciplinary view of the Bahamas ecosystem for use in designing marine policies for the region.

“This is the first time a group of people has gone in and simultaneously studied the physical side of the system, the connectivity side, the ecological and habitat side and the socioeconomic side all together,” says Palumbi, a professor of biological sciences at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station. Researchers hope that policies based upon this systems perspective will produce more viable and sustainable marine environments.

The three scientists provided a progress report on the project during a talk sponsored by the Stanford Institute for International Studies on Feb. 26 titled “Coupled Natural and Human Dynamics in Coral Reef Ecosystems of the Bahamas.”

The BBP is a five-year project funded primarily by the National Science Foundation and headed by Dan Brumbaugh of the American Museum of Natural History. Participating researchers come from disciplines as varied as anthropology, biology, physics, economics and applied mathematics.

The focus of the BBP is on marine reserve networks. These are collections of many small marine protected areas, or MPAs – regions that are entirely closed off to fishing and exploitation. The BBP researchers think marine reserve networks may be preferable to one large marine reserve.

Micheli, an assistant professor at Hopkins Marine Station, remarks that these marine reserve networks are important because they spread risks. In a reserve network, a hurricane or other disaster, natural or man-made, could ruin one MPA without causing the entire system to stop functioning.

Palumbi’s research on the staghorn coral population in the Caribbean supports this idea of a marine reserve network. He generated a family tree of the DNA sequences for each staghorn coral population. By comparing these DNA family trees, Palumbi concluded that most populations of staghorn corals through the Caribbean are genetically distinct. This implies that staghorn coral do not easily propagate from one region to another.

In the Bahamas alone, Palumbi has identified at least four genetically distinct regions based on coral data. “The replenishment of corals in the Bahamas is going to have to be a fairly local thing,” he concludes. “One can’t imagine that coral in San Salvador are going to be rescued by larval production elsewhere in this archipelago.”

His colleagues, project leader Brumbaugh and biodiversity specialist Kate Holmes of the American Museum of Natural History, are also beginning to see similar regional distinctions based on DNA family trees for lobsters in the Bahamas. What emerges from both the coral and the lobster studies is the suggestion of an east-west division of the Bahamas. The coral and lobsters on the east side of the islands are genetically different from those on the west side. Palumbi excitedly notes that this pattern correlates with oceanography data describing how particles travel in the Caribbean.

While Palumbi’s work provides guidelines about how big the reserve network should be, Micheli focuses on what to preserve. According to Sanchirico, a visiting scholar at Stanford’s Center for Environmental Science and Policy, more than 60 percent of the coral reefs are estimated to disappear over the next 30 years.

“[The coral reefs] are sort of the quarterback of habitats,” says Sanchirico. But other habitats are necessary for the Bahamas ecosystem to function. It’s not enough to protect just the coral reefs, Sanchirico says. There needs to be what he calls “a portfolio of habitat types.” Biologist Micheli and other BBP team members have identified at least three essential habitat types in the Bahamas – coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves.

BBP colleague Peter Mumby of the University of Exeter published a study in the Feb. 5 issue of Nature suggesting that these three habitats need to be located near one another to maintain biodiversity and sustain populations important for fisheries in the region. The study specifically looked at striped parrotfish, bluestriped grunt, yellowtail and snappers. These fish all live in the Caribbean reefs as adults, and all of them increased in size and/or abundance if mangrove habitats were nearby.

The results suggest mangroves may be an intermediate habitat that allows juvenile fish more time to grow before they move to their more dangerous adult habitat, the coral reef. Mangrove deforestation will have “significant deleterious consequences for the functioning, fisheries, biodiversity and resilience of Caribbean coral reefs,” Mumby says.

Micheli also worked with the BBP team to map out the marine habitats in the region. By combining satellite imagery with direct observations, the team was able to identify approximately 19 different habitat categories. Habitat maps like these will be valuable when selecting the sites for the MPAs.

The BBP is also investigating the socioeconomic impact of marine reserve networks. Will closing an area force fishermen into another trade? Or will they just begin fishing in another area? The research of Sanchirico and his social science colleagues in the BBP addresses these questions. The answers are critical in determining when and where a marine reserve will improve the biological “health” of the ecosystem at the lowest cost to users of that marine environment, Sanchirico says.

And how does the BBP’s work impact the design of marine policies in other regions of the world? Palumbi describes a few similarities between ecosystems in the Bahamas and other locations. But he emphasizes that it is the methodology, the BBP’s multidisciplinary approach, that will be most helpful in designing marine policies in other regions.

Joy Ku is a postdoctoral researcher in the Pediatric Cardiology and Mechanical Engineering departments at Stanford University.

From
ANNOUNCEMENTS
The following publication and all associated annexes can now be accessed at the link provided.

Lewis, R.R. III, M.J. Phillips, B. Clough and D.J.Macintosh. 2003. Thematic Review on Coastal Wetland Habitats and Shrimp Aquaculture. Report prepared under the World Bank, NACA, WWF and FAO Consortium Program on Shrimp Farming and the Environment. Work in Progress for Public Discussion. Published by the Consortium. 81 pp.

Click here: Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific – Publications

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

Society of Wetland Scientists’ Ramsar Support Grant Program

The Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) is soliciting proposals for their Ramsar Support Grant Program. The grant program was established to advance Ramsar Convention objectives, including the selection, designation, management, and networking of Ramsar sites; and the promotion of Ramsar’s Wise Use guidelines. Two to five projects are funded each year at a level of US $5,000 on a competitive basis as reviewed by an evaluation committee.

Grant guidelines, an application form, and a description of previous grant awards can be found on the SWS web site or you can request these materials from:

Eric Gilman
Society of Wetland Scientists
Ramsar Support Grant Program
E-mail: ericgilman@earthlink.ne t

Applications are due via e-mail on 1 March 2004.

From: “Mike Shanahan”

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
World Conservation Forum, Bangkok, Thailand; 17-25 November 2004

People and Nature – only one world
The World Conservation Forum (18-20 November) is one of the key elements of the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress. It will convene over 3,000 of the world’s leading
specialists and practitioners to address the key challenges in conservation and sustainable development today. The World Conservation Forum will present a more comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date assessment of the state of biodiversity on our planet than ever before.

Through Global Synthesis Workshops and a series of related events and platforms the Forum will explore and demonstrate how cutting edge knowledge can be applied to address the world’s most pressing sustainable development challenges through four broad themes.
Ecosystem Management – Bridging sustainability and productivity
Health, Poverty and Conservation – Responding to the challenge of human well-being
Biodiversity Loss and Species Extinction – Managing risk in a changing world
Markets, Business and the Environment – Strengthening corporate social responsibility, law and policy

The website for the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress was launched
this week ( www.iucn.org/congress ) and will be continually updated as the Congress develops. Please note
that the call for contributions to the Congress has been issued and is attached here — the deadline for contributions to the “Global
Synthesis Workshops” is March 31 and proposals for all other events are due April 15.

There will be a substantial marine component built into the Congress, and I encourage you to start considering your contributions soon!

Contact: Kristin L. Sherwood, Marine Program Officer, Global Marine Program
IUCN – The World Conservation Union

Email: KSherwood@iucnus.org
Web Address:
www.iucn.org/themes/marine/

From Martin Keeley mangrove@candw.ky

“IN DEFENCE OF LAND AND LIVELIHOOD”

Faris Ahmed about six years ago wrote a report called “IN DEFENCE OF LAND AND LIVELIHOOD” which was co-published by CUSO,
Sierra Club of Canada and the Consumer’s Association of Penang. The report told the stories of communities in Asia impacted by the shrimp aquaculture industry. Hard copies of this report are now hard to find but it lives on in cyberspace and you can download a PDF file version.

Please go to the Inter Pares website and look under Publications and then Archives. Or try this link.

From: “Jim Enright”

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Aquaculture is farming, not fishing, report says

VICTORIA (Mar 2, 2004)

Fish farming is farming, not fishing, and Agriculture Canada should be the lead agency overseeing it, says Canada’s commissioner for aquaculture development.

Yves Bastien says the aquaculture industry cannot meet its potential for providing a food source and economic development for smaller coastal communities under the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

He also urged Ottawa to devote more money for aquaculture.

The report, released yesterday, incensed environmentalists who accused Bastien of working for the industry on the taxpayer’s dime.

“It outrages me that this is even being proposed,” said Lynn Hunter of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform.

“Taxpayers are being asked to fund the privatization of our oceans. We’re being asked that the oceans be given over to the multinational corporations and we’re supposed to fund it.”

Bastien said in his report the Fisheries Department is consumed with the conservation of wild stocks, and should be.

“The aquaculture industry cannot continue to be treated as a subset of the fishery,” Bastien wrote. “Aquaculture is a farming — not fishing — industry.”

Instead, he said the main responsibility for aquaculture should fall under the Agriculture Department.

Fisheries Minister Geoff Regan rejected that.

“In terms of who should be the lead agency for aquaculture, we’ve done a considerable review of this and had a good look at this question.

“It’s our view that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans should remain the lead agency,” Regan said in Victoria, where he was meeting with British Columbia’s fisheries and agriculture ministers.

Bastien said aquaculture is an agri-food business that has very little in common with wild fisheries, which is a hunting activity.

The report was welcomed by the B.C. Salmon Farmers’ Association. Spokeswoman Mary Ellen Walling said her group wants strong environmental assessment regulations because it believes in the highest environmental standards.

Environmentalists and aboriginals say salmon farms pollute the ocean and are responsible for spreading diseases that threaten wild salmon.

But the provincial government and the industry say salmon farming is a safe, year-round industry.

In January, the U.S. journal Science published an international report that found eating more than a meal of farm-raised Atlantic salmon a month, depending on its country of origin, could slightly increase the risk of getting cancer.

Environmentalists say the net-pen style of salmon farming used primarily in B.C. is nothing more than an open toilet that flushes wastes into the ocean.

From mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

Late Friday News, 132nd Ed., 20 Feb 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 132nd Edition of the Late Friday News brought to you after a brief hiatus while this editor visited in S. America.

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 132nd Edition, 20 February 2004

FEATURE STORY
Spread of Flu Across Asia Laid to Birds That Migrate: A dissenting opinion

MAP WORKS
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves
MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

AFRICA
Nigeria
US Bans Importation Of Shrimp Harvested By Nigerian Nets

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand
US anti-dumping ruling: Shrimp exports tipped to drop 20-30%
US accepts anti-dumping petition
B450 million budget needed for clean-up
Shrimp farmers’ loss is consumers’ gain
EU team visits local prawn farm
Shrimp ban likely
Drive to bring in visitors turns community around

Vietnam
Shrimp Farmer Caught in a Bitter Battle
Wetlands in Need of Protection

Malaysia
Malaysian Timber Industry Misconduct: Express Shock, Support Boycott

S. ASIA
Bangladesh
Help protect ecosystem of Sundarbans:

India
Hope For Chilika Lake Grows

LATIN AMERICA
Costa Rica
US lifts Costa Rican shrimp embargo

Honduras
DEMAND BEFORE THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

Mexico
Mangroves Being Killed For Development

North America
USA
Anti-Dumping Suit Gains Momentum in WA, DC
“Dumped” foreign shrimp hurts locals, says US
Brewing Trade War Over Shrimp Imports

STORIES/ISSUES
New Report by WWF Raises Concerns Over Lost Wetlands
Mangroves Key to Health of Coral Reef Fisheries

ANNOUNCEMENTS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched
IUCN Announces Small Grants Program
International Conference on Biogeochemistry of mangrove -estuary ecosystem, modeling and I
RAMSAR SITES Database Now Online

CALL FOR PAPERS
2nd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration

AQUACULTURE CORNER
FARMED SALMON PCB ISSUE GOES TO COURT
New Report Documents Efforts to Privatize Ocean for Fish Farming
The fish you buy to carry a label this fall;
Provisions of the seafood labeling law:

FEATURE STORY

Spread of Flu Across Asia Laid to Birds That Migrate: A dissenting opinion

Gilberto Cintron, USFWS
Division of International Conservation

Yara Schaeffer-Novelli, Laboratorio Bioma, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

This is letter which was sent to MAP is written in rebuttal to the NY Times article in relation to migratory birds being possible vectors for the spread of the recent bird flu outbreak in Asia. The authors of this rebuttal think that the WHO statement spotlighting migratory birds as the problem misses an important factor that may be related the root cause of the emergence and spread of the avian flu in Asia.

Although this note is not intended to disregard the migratory bird connection with the current spread of the Asian avian flu as suggested by WHO, here it is suggested that WHO may have missed a far more important
potential factor causing the spread of microbial contaminants within the Asian region; the increasing frequency and severity of large-scale dust storms and long-distance dispersal of dust and entrained dust particles and aerosols by high altitude winds.

For example, Sahelian dust storms disperse masses of dust estimated at 500 million to over 1 billion tons. Asian storms are of similar if not even larger scale. The amount of dust and matter transported and dispersed, and the scale of this dispersal process, greatly exceeds the amount of material that can be transported and dispersed by migratory birds. Effects of this magnitude dwarf any that can be attributed to migratory birds in intensity and geographic scope.

Satellite observations now present an amazing new perspective on how pollutants can become embedded in dust clouds and can be transported long-distances, and dispersed with near-global impacts. It is more likely
that rather than migratory birds, strong winds and dust storms could be acting as a conveyor of disease.

Dust storms play biogeochemical roles in the Earth system, moving materials and delivering nutrients to land and the oceans. Aeolian delivery is now recognized as a key pathway for nutrients essential for plant growth to terrestrial, aquatic and marine systems. It appears that dust storms have
increased in frequency and severity because of widespread deforestation and
desertification (a dust bowl effect). Increasingly pollutants derived from human activities become available for injection and dispersion into the atmosphere by high winds.

Aeolian transport of dust and aerosols has the potential to promote the dispersal of huge quantities of microbial and toxic contaminant inputs from terrestrial sources and promote the emergence of novel infections among
wildlife as well as humans. Habitat degradation and pollutant inputs brought about by human activity can facilitate disease. For example, large scale- poultry farms operations may be ultimate sources of disease because animals are raised under stressful conditions that suppress immunolologic responses. These operations may act as incubators, reservoirs, and sources of evolving viral diseases, which may become dispersed when improperly treated, or untreated waste, is discharged or disposed innadequately and becomes injected into the atmosphere by high winds. Some of the organisms in African dust are indeed pathogenic, according to Dr. Dale Griffin and
colleagues at the U.S. Geological Survey Center for Coastal Geology in St.
Petersburg, Fla. They have carried out detailed studies of a number of aerosol samples collected during African dust events in the U.S. Virgin Islands during the summer of 2000 and found a large number of viable
pathogenic fungi, bacteria and viruses. Some were known human pathogens and others were plant pathogens.

The Asian Dust Plumes of 1998 and 2000
In April 1998 Plumes of dust from storms whipped up in China’s arid north reached as far as Russia’s Pacific port of Vladivostok. This dust storm event was first reported in China’s capital Beijing on early April 1998..
According to the local media it was the worst in a decade, and affected 100 million people across the country’s north. Dust storms are normally a sign of spring in Asia, when winds from the Siberian plateau; kick up dust from
the Mongolian and Chinese deserts. These events appear to have worsened in recent decades because of increasing deforestation and drought. The 1998 event’s magnitude, which was somewhat unusual in terms of its severity, was reportedly amplified by unusual weather conditions (i.e., El Ni?o or La
Ni?a). As a result, this storm was the most severe in the Northern Hemisphere in at least two decades. It began to form in early April in the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts, then spread rapidly over China, Korea, and
Japan. In Vladivostok, it was reported to have shrouded the city in clouds of sand and yellow rain. In South Korea, airline flights had to be canceled. Within a week dust clouds had been picked up by the Jet stream
and had reached the west coast of North America, moving as far east as the
Canary Islands.

Dust storms originating in Mongolia were detected by satellite again in December 31st 2000 and January 1st 2001. This cloud quickly moved to the east over Korea and Japan where its effects were registered in surface observations.

The 1998 event coincided with large-scale atmospheric observations of the Aerosol Characterization Experiment-Asia (ACE-Asia), so scientists caught it in full swing. Early analysis, presented in the Fall 1998 AGU (American Geophysical Union), meeting in San Francisco suggest that regional droughts
and human impacts exacerbated the storm’s effects. Sediments from a dried lake bed near Beijing, caused by over pumping of water, whipped into the wind and triggered a dense dust cloud while the initial storm was still
raging according to Barry Huebert of the University of Hawaii.

The 1998 Asian dust storm was not a rare event, dust storms of varying severity occur every year. On a global scale billions of tons of earth surface material is transported by the wind each year. Similar events are known to occur in the western Hemisphere. Sahelian dust storms disperse masses of dust estimated at 500 million to over 1 billion tons. As early as 1930 Charles Darwin had noticed the accumulation of fine reddish dust aboard the HMS Beagle while sailing near the Canary Islands. This massive trans-oceanic transport of dust recently has been linked to reef
degradation in the Atlantic. The amount of dust generated globally, in turn, has attracted increasing study because of its possibly far-reaching effects on climate, the planet’s ecosystems, and potential impacts on human
health.

Dust bio-geo-chemically links land, air and sea. Dust storms could be conveyors of disease as well. These observations suggest that WHO’s statement on the role of migratory birds as pathways for the dispersal of
the avian flu should be re-examined or reconsidered. The role of large-scale dust storms, capable o injecting tons of pollutants and microbial particles into the atmosphere should be explored as a possibly more significant primary mechanism for disease propagation.

From: Gil_Cintron@fws.gov , “Yara Schaeffer-Novelli”

MAP WORKS
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

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Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net  for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

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Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. GROUNDSFORCHANGE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair Trade Federation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

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Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand

MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT,S
SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM
An experiential study of Thailand,s coastal resources
And the people who depend on them

A new exciting two-week experiential ecology program will provide an opportunity to learn about Thailand,s mangrove forests and othercritical, but often threatened coastal wetlands. Visit Thailand’s first coastal national park located on the Gulf of Thailand and world famous Phang Nga Bay and the Island of Phuket on the Andaman Sea. Learn about the ecological importance of mangroves, the endangered Dugong and see water birds, languors, and mud skippers. Learn what the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) and a local Thai NGO are doing to conserve mangroves. Stay with a fisherfolk family on an island in Phang Nga Bay and experience first hand their culture and efforts to protect the coastal resources on which that their livelihood depends. An extra John Gray SeaCanoe Eco-tour can be arranged at the tour end to view the amazing mangroves and caves of Phang Nga Bay from the vantage point of a kayak, a truly intimate marine experience.

www.johngray-seacanoe.com/

Program Dates: July 4-17
Fee not including airfare or food: $800/person
For more information contact: Dr. Lamar Robert lamar@thailand.com
Mangrove Action Project’s website.

======
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being considered for the month of June or July, 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

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John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first of many Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32°C
Humid.: 70 %
(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com  . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

AFRICA
Nigeria

from This Day News (Nigeria) today

US Bans Importation Of Shrimp Harvested By Nigerian Nets

The United States has banned the importation of shrimp harvested in Nigeria with commercial fishing technology that may adversely affect endangered sea turtle.

This comes following a determination by the department of State that Nigeria no longer meets the requirements set by law related to the protection of sea turtles in the course of commercial shrimp harvesting.

It also comes on the heels of a presidential directive for homeland security establishing a national policy to defend the agriculture and food system against terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.

The import prohibition is however expected to be for a brief period as the Department of State has offered to work closely with the Government of Nigeria to address concerns that led to this determination. In particular,
the Department will make recommendations to Nigeria to assist fisheries and law enforcement officials, and is open to re-assessing efforts made by the Federal Government to enforce their requirements to protect sea turtles in
the course of shrimp harvesting.

From:
ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand

US anti-dumping ruling: Shrimp exports tipped to drop 20-30%

The NATION, Published on Feb 19, 2004

Shrimp exports to the United States are expected to drop by 20-30 per cent after the US International Trade Commission (USITC) imposed anti-dumping duties on shrimp from Thailand and other five exporting countries.

“We expect that the Kingdom,s export volume will drop by 20-30 per cent but it will have a smaller impact on export value because export prices will increase due to lower supply,? Thiraphong Chansiri, secretary-general of Thai Frozen Foods Association, said yesterday.

USITC,s preliminary determination yesterday came as it said it would continue an investigation into whether exporters from Thailand, Brazil, Ecuador, India, China and Vietnam “dumped? frozen and canned warm-water shrimp and prawn in the US market.

A final anti-dumping rate will be determined by the US Department of Commerce and USITC. A preliminary determination by the department is expected by June 8.

“Thai exporters will face export uncertainty for a while because importers are reluctant to import as they are afraid of anti-dumping charges, and the final rate wont be announced till June,? he said.

Dumping duty is charged on goods imported at a price below the home-market or a third country,s price or below the cost of production.

Thiraphong said Thai exporters would have to wait till Friday or early next week for the names of companies targeted to answer questionnaires for the US Commerce Department. Exporters have to send back the questionnaire within 30-45 days.

Thiraphong, however, has the positive view that export prices will rise because shrimp exports from those six countries account for 75-80 per cent of the US,s total imports. Thus, any shortage of supply is likely to increase the price.

Thailand is the biggest shrimp exporter to the US. Volumes reached 120,727 tonnes over the first 11 months last year. Thai exports to other major exporting countries include China (71,909 tonnes), Vietnam (53,136 tonnes), India (41,682 tonnes), and Ecuador (31,273 tonnes) during the first 11 months last year. The US imported a total of 460,409 tonnes in the same period last year.

These countries exported $2.35 billion worth of shrimp to the United States in 2002.

Thiraphong said Thai exports to the US were of higher quality and price. So, if Thailand,s anti-dumping duty is lower than other competitors it should create more business opportunities.

Thiraphong, who is also president of Thai Union Frozen Products Plc, the country,s leading shrimp exporter, said the company,s total shrimp exports account for 4 per cent of its total revenue of US$40-50 million a year.

Thailand,s Commerce Ministry, also said the anti-dumping rate would not be high. The US is planning to send officials to Thailand to meet 12 Thai exporters whose products are under investigation.

Rachane Potjanasuntorn, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the anti-dumping charge would not hit Thai exports hard. But he noted that Thai shrimp exports to the US dropped 10 per cent after the investigation.

A coalition of shrimp harvesters from eight US states ? Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas ? have asked for duties ranging from 26 per cent to 264 per cent on frozen and canned shrimp from the Asian and Latin American suppliers.

The heart of the US industry,s case is that the foreign suppliers are selling their product at a much-lower price in the United States than in other markets, she said.

“US shrimpers and processors are not able to make ends meet due to the increasing amount of unfair trade,? John Williams, a Florida shrimp fisherman and officer of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, said in a statement.

Deborah Regan, a spokeswoman for the Southern Shrimp Alliance, said: “We don,t concede that it,s necessarily cheaper? to grow shrimp in ponds?, although some US producers have turned to that option. “Overall, the cost of wild harvesting versus farming is very similar.?

Achara Pongvutitham
The Nation, Reuters

E-mail: mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

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Bangkok Post, Jan.23, 2004

US accepts anti-dumping petition

First step in possible imposition of duties

Reuters and Post reporters

The United States has taken the first step toward a possible imposition of steep anti-dumping duties on more than US$2.3 billion worth of shrimp imported from the world’s six major exporting countries, including Thailand.

The US Department of Commerce (DOC) said on Wednesday that it had accepted a petition from shrimp farmers in eight southern states asking for duties ranging from 25.76% to 263.68% on frozen and canned shrimp shipments from Thailand, Brazil, China, Ecuador, India and Vietnam.

Thailand, the world’s largest shrimp exporter, ships around half, or 120,000 tonnes, of its shrimp exports to the US each year. The shipments to the US are worth around $1 billion.

The case pits the US shrimp industry, which mostly harvests its product from the sea, against farmers in the six countries who raise shrimp at lower cost in ponds.

The DOC’s decision will begin a probe to determine if imports from the six countries are being sold in the US market at less than fair value, as American shrimpers allege.

The department is expected to set preliminary duties in early June to offset any “dumping” it finds. Imports account for about 80% of the US local consumption.

The exporting countries have warned that duties sought by US shrimpers would sharply boost prices for US consumers. They also reject any blame for the US industry’s plight.

“No legal action will change the fact that farm-raised shrimp from exporting countries is more cost-effective than US wild-harvested shrimp,” the six countries said in a joint statement released earlier this month.

One day before the DOC officially agreed to initiate the anti-dumping investigation, a Thai Commerce Ministry official said he believed the DOC would put off its consideration on whether to accept the petition. The official explained later that with additional information, shrimp farmers from Louisiana had objected to the original petition and proposed to add two more countries to the list of offenders, which meant the DOC would need more time to consider the case.

“But the DOC denied the Louisiana shrimp farmers’ request calling for the inclusion of fresh shrimp imported from Mexico and Canada in the original petition. As a result, the case is proceeding normally,” the official said.

To cope with the impact from the expected decline in shrimp exports to the US this year, Rachane Potjanasuntorn, the Foreign Trade Department’s director-general, said the department would study the possibility of shifting some of the excess shrimp to the European Union instead.

Shrimp exports to the EU have declined continuously since tax privileges under its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) were cut in 1999. The EU taxes Thai frozen shrimp imports at 12% currently, compared with less than 5% under the GSP. As well, the EU is seeking to stimulate consumption of locally produced shrimp in a bid to maintain domestic prices.

Over the first 10 months of last year, frozen shrimp exported to the 15-country trade bloc totalled 545 tonnes worth around 190 million baht, declining more than 70% both in terms of volume and value when compared with the figures in 1999.

Due to the impact of the US anti-dumping probe, the Thai Frozen Foods Association predicted shipments to the US would decline slightly to 100,000 tonnes this year from 120,000 tonnes last year.

Association president Panisuan Jamnarnwej said it would be possible for the country to shift another 20,000 tonnes of shrimp to the EU this year, although they would face the higher import tax. It would not be a tough job, he said, since many Thai exporters were already familiar with the market.

Thai Shrimp Farming Association said that Thai farmers had already moved to slow production and produce bigger shrimp that could fetch better prices.

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Bangkok Post Feb.15, 2004

SONGKHLA LAKE

B450 million budget needed for clean-up

Ranjana Wangvipula

The government will be asked to allocate 450 million baht to restore Songkhla Lake, the largest fresh water source in the South which has faced severe pollution problems.

A panel of state officials and villagers for Songkhla Lake rehabilitation will propose programmes including plans to build 1,900 small weirs to trap soil sediment flowing into the lake.

The Songkhla Lagoon Development Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, will consider the proposal on Feb 26 before forwarding it for cabinet approval, said Kasemsun Chinnavaso, deputy secretary-general of the Office of Natural Resources and Environment Policy and Planning.

Rapid soil erosion is threatening various fish species in this 1,046-square-kilometre lake.

Other rehabilitation programmes include mangrove reforestation, environmentally-friendly fishing, and plans to curb wastewater discharge from factories and communities.

A scientist, who has been studying water animals at the lake, said mangrove reforestation covering too wide an area could threaten fish which would find the size of their habitat reduced.

From: mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

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Thursday, December 11, 2003, The Phuket Gazett

Shrimp farmers’ loss is consumers’ gain

PHUKET: Shrimp lovers are being urged to eat up vast quantities in Thailand’ s national interest. The price of Pacific white shrimp, a popular crop with shrimp farmers, has plummeted because of oversupply and anti-dumping measures being taken in the
US and Europe.

Prices that were around 200-230 baht a kilogram just weeks ago are now down to 80-100 baht.

Tharadol Thongruang, Deputy Director of the Phuket Commercial Affairs office, said that about 180 shrimp farmers on Phuket have been seriously affected by the drop in price.

Strong demand both locally and overseas has pushed production levels higher over the past year – but now the farmers, initially attracted to the business by the low overheads and the prospect of top prices, are facing a dramatic drop in income because of the new barriers in their overseas markets.

“The US and the European Union decided to place limits on the amount of imported shrimp and, at the same time, rival producers such as China, India and Vietnam also increased output,” K. Tharadol explained.

Phuket officials are trying to help the local farmers by urging 200 island hotels and stores to promote shrimp dishes to guests.

Over the longer term, shrimp growers are being advised to consider farming alternatives such as fish or shellfish.

Meanwhile, local consumers have been quick to take advantage. Supercheap, which normally sells 300 kilos a day of the Pacific white shrimp, saw sales leap to a ton a day or more.

Anyone interested in buying fresh shrimp in large quantities should contact K. Tharadol at Tel: 076-212017 during office hours.

From:

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The Phuket Gazett

AUTHOR: Supaporn Sriprom

EU team visits local prawn farm

THALANG: Five members of a European Union (EU) inspection team toured a shrimp farm and hatchery in Thalang to check on new operating procedures introduced by the Phuket Provincial Fisheries Office. At about 1 pm on January 22 the team arrived at the Palakualalum Prawn Hatchery accompanied by Phuket Provincial Fisheries Office head Sinti Dangsakul. K. Sinti explained to them the improvements that have been implemented over the past year in Phuket’s prawn farming industry, which comprises about 300
hatcheries and 100 farms. More than a quarter these have put new procedures in place to reduce disease and improve hygiene and safety, as required to meet the increased stringency of EU import standards. Besides higher duties,

Thai shrimp exports have faced non-tariff hurdles such as rigorous, 100% testing for banned chemicals. The EU withdrew Thai prawns from its Generalized System of Preferences, saying Thailand had become rich enough not to need tariff privileges anymore.
Late last year, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra threatened to boycott the purchase of Airbus aircraft after the EU was considered to have deliberately introduced protectionist measures against Thai shrimp, but the barriers likely reflect a growing attitude in Europe that the global prawn-farming industry is greed-driven, unsustainable, and a major source of mangrove
forest destruction in developing countries.

At the 180-rai Palakualalum farm, the EU representatives spent an hour reviewing technical aspects of the farm’s operation before touring the facility.
“We wanted them to show them our improved standards so they will trust the quality of our prawn exports,” he explained, adding that all prawns exported to EU markets were inspected for traces of chemical contamination and disease no less than 15 days before sale. Referring to Thailand’s drop in exports to the US and EU to just 5% of total production from 40-50%, K. Sinthi said many other factors were involved, including marketing and increased competition from countries like Vietnam and China.
According to K. Sinti, the EU officials did not have time to comment on their findings due to time constraints.

“This was meant to be a good example for the EU member how our farms operate and hopefully they are willing allow us to export more prawns to their country in the future,” he said.

From steve@phuketgazette.net

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Bangkok Post Jan.29, 2004

Shrimp ban likely

Commerce Minister Watana Muangsook shrugged off a report that Indonesia might ban shrimp imports from six countries under US dumping scrutiny, which include Thailand.

“We would not be hurt by the decision. Our shrimp prices are still going up,” Mr Watana said yesterday.

Indonesia’s marine affairs minister, Rokhmin Dahuri was quoted by the Antara news agency as saying the ban would cover shrimp from Thailand, Brazil, China, Ecuador, India and Vietnam.

“We hope that the ban will rejuvenate the shrimping business which has been in the doldrums,” he was quoted as saying, adding that the US dumping investigation could help Indonesia increase its shrimp exports to the US.

E-mail:

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Bangkok Post Feb.9, 2004

Drive to bring in visitors turns community around

Eco-tourism programme restores Ban Bang Rong villages to former glory

ACHATAYA CHUENNIRAN – Phuket

Unity and collective efforts to restore local resources have turned an area once exploited by deforestation and water-polluting prawn farms on Phuket to a popular ecological tourist attraction. Ban Bang Rong community consists of five villages along the Bang Rong canal in the southern island province. The community covers 2,075 rai and houses 1,172 people from 327 families, 80% of whom are Muslims, in tambon Pa Klawk of Thalang district. It borders Phra Thaew mountain in the west and the sea in the east.

Years ago the community lost most of its mangrove forests to shrimp farmers and logging concessionaires who made charcoal. That destroyed the coastal fishery which was the only way local people made a living. Ban Bang Rong people then had to turn to cultivation but failed as they were unfamiliar with it. Their plantations finally fell into the hands of their creditors. Poverty drove local people to theft and drugs.

The situation prompted local religious leaders to find ways to save their people. Rescue plans started with a fund to help people in financial trouble. The fund saved villagers from harsh interest rates charged by loan sharks. In 1998, the fund was developed into a fund which supported the activities of villagers, housewives and coastal fishermen. These groups gradually solved local problems such as poverty, crimes and drug addiction.

The activity which has made money for villagers is development of the Ban Bang Rong community as an ecological tourist attraction which highlights the abundant forest on Phra Thaew mountain, local lifestyles along Bang Rong canal and the natural beauty of mangrove forests and coastal sea water. Villagers spent two years rehabilitating their mangrove forests and preparing services for visitors such as camp sites, a restaurant which serves local seafood dishes, rental mountain bikes, and coastal kayaks which are guided to seaside caves and fish farms.

“The community has turned itself into a natural classroom where visitors can learn villagers’ lifestyles. In the meantime, local people have jobs and income, and drug addiction and gambling among young people are fading away. This is a dream coming true for community dwellers,” said Jirasak Thortip, head of the tambon Pa Klawk civil society. Tourist programmes also include mountain treks and visits to a waterfall. Each day the community welcomes 60-70 visitors, mostly Europeans.

From

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Vietnam

February 18, 2004

Shrimp Farmer Caught in a Bitter Battle

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LE LOI, Vietnam (AP) — With an accent that’s straight out of America’s South, Huu Dinh can vividly recall a stint as a shrimp fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico when he first arrived in the United States 30 years ago.

But Dinh — who returned to his native Vietnam in 1997 and invested nearly $50 million to set up shrimp farms here — now finds himself caught between the two countries he calls home.

American shrimpers accuse Vietnam of dumping shrimp in U.S. markets at unfairly low prices. A lawsuit designed to impose duties on Vietnamese shrimp — and help his former colleagues in the United States – now threatens to devastate Dinh’s business in Vietnam.

“This is something awful because (I’m an) American guy (with) American dollars and now if any ruling favors the (U.S.) fishermen, it will hurt me,” said Dinh, 48.

The U.S. International Trade Commission issued a preliminary ruling Tuesday, saying imports from six countries including Vietnam have harmed the domestic
shrimp industry. The ruling keeps alive the American group’s hopes that Washington will eventually impose tariffs on shrimp imports.

The U.S.-based Southern Shrimp Alliance, the group of shrimpers and processors that filed the lawsuit, says American fishermen are being pushed out of business because cheap shrimp imports are undercutting their market. The other countries involved are Thailand, China, India, Brazil and Ecuador.

But immigrants from Vietnam play a major role in the American shrimp industry. Vietnamese-Americans make up between 45 percent and 80 percent of the industry in America’s southern states, the Southern Shrimp Alliance has said.

“The Vietnamese have been harder hit than any group in this country, and it just breaks your heart,” said Eddie Gordon, alliance president.

The countries named in the lawsuit say they’re not dumping shrimp onto the U.S. market. They say they’re simply more efficient, with cheaper labor and fewer regulations to slow down production.

They also argue that America needs the imported shrimp because domestic producers account for only about 20 percent of the amount consumed in a country where shrimp is the No. 1 seafood.

“(America) needs to face the fact that some countries will do some things better, and if the Vietnamese do good shrimp, let them do it,” Dinh said.

Vietnam is the second biggest shrimp exporter to the United States, sending $467.3 million worth in 2002. Thailand is the largest exporter.

The Vietnamese government now faces its second seafood trade dispute with the United States in two years. Last year, a similar suit filed against Vietnamese catfish farmers resulted in tariffs of up to 64 percent, forcing
many Vietnamese out of U.S. markets.

“We consider the catfish lawsuit as nonsense and we also consider it nonsense for this shrimp lawsuit,” said Nguyen Huu Chi, the Ministry of Trade official who’s overseeing the lawsuit.

The former foes have moved closer economically following the signing of a landmark trade agreement in 2001, which prompted two-way trade of $4.7 billion last year. But since the catfish dispute, Vietnam has accused the United States of protecting its own markets, rather than offering free trade.

And shrimp producers like Dinh will feel the pinch if tariffs are imposed on Vietnamese shrimp.

One of his farms sits in Le Loi village, a flat, barren area in northern Vietnam about 100 miles east of Hanoi. Blue plastic tarps line countless ponds saddled by yellow aeration paddles. A total of 2,200 tons of shrimp a
year are harvested at this farm — one of five Dinh owns throughout the country, employing 2,000 people.

As a Vietnamese-American, Dinh considers himself the son of two countries. He says he finds it ironic that his livelihood is now being threatened by some of the same people he once helped.

After he immigrated to the United States in 1974, Dinh said he fished the Gulf of Mexico waters before going to college and later becoming a senior reactor operator at a nuclear power plant. Along the way, he says he helped
fellow Vietnamese fishermen learn English, apply for loans for their boats, and he even helped finance some of their ventures.

When Vietnam began welcoming overseas Vietnamese back to do business, Dinh returned while his family remained in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

“I’m a son of two families, but I returned home for my mother because she needs help more,” Dinh said. “But I also want to do something special where it can bridge the gap between Vietnam and America.”

From Dr. Michael Skladany, IATP
e-mail: mskladany@iatp.org

——————–

Wetlands in Need of Protection

150,000 hectares of Vietnam’s forests disappear every year and half of this figure is mangrove forest. This is according to the Head of the Environment Department at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Mr. Truong Manh Tien, in an interview on World Wetland Day (2 February). Mr. Tien also warned that deforestation and current improper exploitation is the biggest threat to wetland systems in Vietnam. During the past forty years Bac Lieu and Ca Mau Provinces have destroyed 80% of their mangrove forest by converting it into shrimp ponds. Wetlands are also under pressure from intensive cultivation, over use of pesticides and fertilisers and sometimes become local waste dumps.

The Government appears to be reacting to the threat of this special system and have issued Decree 109/2003 in an attempt to strengthen wetland protection throughout the country. The former Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (the Ministry of Sciences, Technologies and Environment) agreed a list of 68 important wetland sites in 1998 and proposed to set up 15 Marine Reserves. Vietnam was also one of the first countries in Asia to join the Ramsar Convention to promote wetland preservation activities.

Wetlands contribute a lot to the country’s economy. Rice grown in wetland areas adds to the countries overall rice production which makes up 5% of the worlds grain output. Marine products also include products from wetland areas which make up 10% of the country’s exports. (Vietnam Economic Times issue 20, date 4 Feb 2004)

From: “Bernard O’Callaghan – DNG”

——————–

Malaysia

FOREST CONSERVATION ACTION ALERT

Malaysian Timber Industry Misconduct: Express Shock, Support Boycott

By Forests.org, Inc., February 16, 2004

TAKE ACTION:

Malaysia Hosts Biodiversity Conference as Timber Industry

Devastates World’s Primary Forests

Malaysian timber cartels threaten the existence of most of the World’s remaining primary rainforests through predatory logging and marketing of illegal timber. Described as “robber barons”,

Malaysian timber interests and their government apologists trample upon human rights, national sovereignty, the rule of law, and biodiversity and ecosystems. Hypocritically, Malaysia is now
hosting the “Conference of Parties” to the Biodiversity Treaty, charged with finding solutions to biodiversity and forest loss. Only twenty percent of the Earth’s original forest cover remains as large intact areas, with more than a third of these under threat. Malaysian logging interests have gained notoriety as the most aggressive and damaging industrial loggers of ancient

forests. An example is Rimbunan Hijau of Malaysia which has been exposed as one of the major players in global forest crime. In Papua New Guinea (PNG), Malaysian logging companies routinely resort to corruption and human rights abuses to carry out
environmentally and socially damaging first time industrial logging of ancient primary forests. Illegal trade in ramin enabled by Malaysian timber interests threatens some of

Indonesia’s last remaining national parks and endangered species
including orangutans and the Sumatran tiger. Demand that the Malaysian government cease its obstruction of efforts to conserve, preserve and sustainably use forest biodiversity. Insist Malaysia commit to eradicating illegal logging and related trade, and respect of indigenous rights in

Malaysia and worldwide. Call upon the Malaysian government to use

their hosting of the meeting to galvanize a specific, adequately funded and time-bound agenda to end deforestation and degradation of forests and biodiversity. Let Malaysia’s government know that
failure to do so will mean a boycott of Malaysian products and travel. It is time to get tough with the number one offender of rainforests and their inhabitants – please do so at THIS WEBSITE

 

From: “Glen Barry”

——————–

S. ASIA

Bangladesh

Help protect ecosystem of Sundarbans: Minister tells NGOs, environmentalists

The Daily Star, Febeuary 9, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

State Minister for Forest and Environment Jafrul Islam Chowdhury yesterday called upon NGOs, environmentalists and other agencies concerned to work together with the government to protect ecosystem of the Sundarbans.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Conservation of tigers in the Sundarbans, Bangladesh’, he said, “Conservation of the Royal Bengal Tigers is possible through protecting the ecosystem of the Sundarbans.”

Dharitri Media and Communication Consultants Agency organised the seminar. Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office Dr Kamal Uddin Siddiqui and Canadian High Commissioner Robert Bedel were present as special guests.

Development Communicator of Dharitri Razia Quadir presented the keynote paper at the seminar while President of Dharitri Shanaj Ahmed spoke.

Referring to the growing threat to life of tigers in the Sundarbans, Jafrul Islam said everybody should make effort to protect the rare species. Community-based initiatives should be taken to this end, he added.

He said the government has taken various measures to protect the Royal Bengal Tigers and the Sundarbans.

He said dependence of local people on resources of the Sundarbans for maintaining their livelihood should be stopped. Steps have been taken to create alternative jobs for local people to protect ecosystem of the Sundarbans, he added.

The state minister said numeration of tigers in the world largest mangrove is going on and their total number could be ascertained within few days.

Dr Kamal Uddin Siddiqui said the Sundarbans is our national property.

From: Zakir Kibria

——————–

India

Hope For Chilika Lake Grows

WAS VERY PLEASANTLY SURPRISED READ ASSESSMENT REPORTS
BY WWF AND CHILIKA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY THAT THE
DANGER OF SILTATION AND DECREASE OF SALINITY HAS BEEN
STOPPED BY OPENING ACCESS TO THE SEA. TIDE BRINGS IN
SEA WATER AND FISH,CRAB AND SHRIMP SPAWNS. THEIR CATCH
HAS GONE UP DRAMATICALLY. SO ALSO DOLPHIN POPULATION.

A NEW TYPE OF MANGROVE SPECIES HAS BEEN IDENTIFYED IN
A PERTCULAR ISLAND. DONT KNOW IF IT IS A NEW ONE OR
NEW IN CHILIKA. WILL BE VISITING ON 1ST FEB TO ASSESS.
WILL LET YOU KNOW.

I AM REQESTING DR PATNAIK IN CHARGE OF CHILIKA
DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY WHO HAS BROUGHT ABOUT THIS
DRAMATIC CHANGE TO CONTACT YOU SEND MORE INFORMATION.

From: chittaranjan das chittaranjan100@yahoo.fr

LATIN AMERICA
Costa Rica

US lifts Costa Rican shrimp embargo
05 Feb 2004, Source: just-food.com

The US has lifted its ban on imports of Costa Rican shrimp, saying it was satisfied with the Central American country’s measures to prevent marine turtles being caught by shrimp fishing boats.

The US banned Costa Rican shrimp in August after it was found that many Costa Rican shrimp boats did not have screens in place to stop sea turtles being caught in shrimp traps.
US embassy spokeswoman Marcia Bosshardt said Costa Rican officials would continue to inspect the boats to make sure the protective measures remained in place, reported the Associated Press.

JUSTFOOD.COM

From E-mail:

——————–

Honduras

DEMAND BEFORE THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

DEMAND AGAINST THE SHRIMP FARMING INDUSTRY, THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CORPORATION, BRANCH OF WORLD BANK AND HONDURAS GOVERNMENT DUE TO LACK OF ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC, NATIONAL LAWS AND INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENTS, CAUSING WITH THIS DESTRUCTION, CONTAMINATION OF COASTAL WETLANDS AND VIOLATION TO HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE GULF OF FONSECA, HONDURAS.

The Committee for the Defense and Development of the Flora and Fauna of the Gulf of Fonseca (CODDEFFAGOLF), organization of fishermen, peasants, small aquacultors and people concerned for human development and environment conservation in Honduras, and particularly in the Gulf of Fonseca, communicates:

After our cooperation in the elaboration of the General Law of Environment; among other initiatives. After risking ourselves and dedicate so much time to get: the declaration of MORATORIA to shrimp farming expansion between 1996, 1997 and 1998; the designation of RAMSAR SITE 1000 in 1999; the MORATORIUM to aquaculture expansion in this same year during the international RAMSAR Convention, plus the Statement of Protected Areas of the Gulf of Fonseca in 2000, we see with frustration the following:

The expansion of the shrimp farming industry has continued without interruption; the big shrimp companies of national and international investors, supported by Agencies and International Financial Institutions, with the complicity of the Honduran Government, have converted large extensions of mangrove forests and lagoons into shrimp farms, and they don?t care to accomplish or making others accomplish the Laws, or the International Commitments, or taking from us our income and food sources and the access to natural resources, besides they violate our human rights and they don?t even worry about the destruction of zones of breeding, shelter, food of development of marine species, flora and wild fauna, particularly native and migratory birds.

Observing that this situation goes on and that Government covers it up with a coat of impunity sheltered in a supposed corruption or governmental incapacity, we have decided to look for justice at international level, getting in first instance to the Central American Water Tribunal where we expect to obtain an ethic and moral condemn that obligates the denounced ones to accomplish and make others accomplish the national and international legal structure that should have been executed since more than 30 years ago.

Because of the previously said, we authorize Mr. Justo Garcia Casco and Jorge Varela Marquez, President and Executive Director, respectively so that in our representation they: denounce the big shrimp farming industry, the ?International Finance Corporation? of the World Bank and the Government of Honduras, for their lack of accomplishment of the Republic?s Constitution, National Laws and International Commitments, with this they have caused the destruction and contamination of coastal wetlands and violation to human rights, since the establishment of the shrimp farming industry in the Gulf of Fonseca, Honduras.

San Lorenzo, Valle, January 24 of 2004
Central Directive Board, CODDEFFAGOLF

From: “CODDEFFAGOLF”

——————–

Mexico

Mangroves Being Killed For Development

I am writing to you to report the illegal killing of mangrove in Xcalak. I have personally witnessed it and have had it temporarily stopped. I would like to know how I can report this crime so that the American owner of the land will be properly punished and fined according to the laws of Mexico. I have made a videotape of the workers chopping the mangroves with their machetes. They were instructed to destroy all the mangrove on a thirty meter beach lot. They say the agent who sold the land asked them to cut it all. I know it was the American owner who asked the agent to clear the land for him.

From John and Melissa Rogers Xcalak
jrogers91@yahoo.com

NORTH AMERICA
USA

The Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Anti-Dumping Suit Gains Momentum in WA, DC

By Michael Schroeder

WASHINGTON — Federal trade officials, noting that low-price competition is damaging U.S. producers, agreed to recommend that the government consider antidumping duties on shrimp imports from six countries in Asia and Latin America. The U.S. International Trade Commission voted 6-0 to send the recommendation to the Commerce Department to decide whether the U.S. should impose duties based on
evidence that shrimp imports were sold at unfair market prices.

Commerce officials are scheduled to make a preliminary ruling by early June, unless they decide more time is needed. If imposed, duties wouldn’t go into effect at least until October.

The Southern Shrimp Alliance, which represents thousands of small shrimp operations ranging from South Carolina to Louisiana, contended in a Dec. 31 complaint that six countries — Thailand, China, Vietnam, India, Ecuador and Brazil — have been dumping excess supplies of farmed
shrimp on the U.S. market. Shrimp imports to the U.S. surged after heightened health standards and tariffs diverted the big exporting nations from shipping shrimp to Europe and Japan.

“Demand for shrimp is at record high levels, surpassing tuna as the No. 1 seafood consumed in the United States. Yet, U.S. shrimpers and processors are not able to make ends meet due to the increasing amount of unfair trade,” said John Williams, an Alliance officer and a shrimp fisherman in Tarpon Springs, Fla.

The U.S. shrimp group contended in the petition that cheap imports cut the value of the U.S. shrimp harvest to $560 million in 2002 from $1.25 billion in 2000. During the period, the average dockside price of Gulf of Mexico shrimp was cut by nearly half to $3.30 a pound.

The U.S. shrimpers are demanding that the U.S. impose duties ranging from 30% to 267% on imports from the six countries. Representatives from the big exporting nations contend that duties will result in higher prices for U.S. consumers. Even at higher prices, shrimp will continue to come in from Asia, and other suppliers will boost production, trade analysts say.

Deborah Regan, an Alliance spokeswoman, said higher prices may not translate into consumers paying more. Restaurant prices have increased substantially for shrimp, even though there has been a big decline in dockside prices in the past three years.

From Dr. Michael Skladany, IATP
e-mail: mskladany@iatp.org

——————–

“Dumped” foreign shrimp hurts locals, says US

NewAge, Feb. 19, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

www.newagebd.com

America’s top trade panel ruled that shrimp imports from six countries likely threaten the US industry, opening the way to possible anti-dumping tariffs. The six-member quasi-judicial US International Trade Commission (ITC) voted unanimously for a finding against shrimp and prawns from Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Thailand and Vietnam.
It said there was a “reasonable indication” that the imported crustaceans, allegedly being dumped in the United States at unfair prices, harm or threaten the local industry.
That means the Department of Commerce will press ahead with anti-dumping investigations and make a preliminary finding “which could mean import tariffs or quotas” by about June 8, the ITC said.
The probe includes warm-water, ocean or farm-raised shrimp, whether packaged with heads or without, in their shells or peeled, cooked or raw, frozen or fresh, canned or loose.
American shrimp farmers, pooled together in the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee, had asked for the investigation in December, calling for anti-dumping tariffs of up to 349 per cent.
They celebrated the ITC decision.
“The evidence that countries sell shrimp in the United States at prices lower than in their home or third markets is overwhelming,” said Florida shrimp farmer John Williams, who is an official in the Southern Shrimp Alliance.
US demand for shrimp was at a record high, surpassing tuna as the number-one seafood, but American shrimpers and processors could not make ends meet, Williams said.
In the first nine months of 2003, the value of shrimp imports from Brazil was $86m; from China, $254m; from Ecuador, $171m; from India, $298m; from Thailand, $631m; and from Vietnam, $418m.
American shrimpers are looking for tariffs of up to 349 per cent on shrimp from Brazil, 264 per cent from China, 166 per cent from Ecuador, 110 per cent from India, 58 per cent from Thailand and 93 per cent from Vietnam.
Vietnam condemns US ruling
Vietnam’s seafood industry condemned Wednesday a ruling by a US trade panel that Vietnamese shrimp exports are threatening the American shrimp industry, calling the anti-dumping investigation ?absurd?.
The Vietnam Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said it was “very disappointed” that the International Trade Commission (ITC) did not terminate the legal action against Vietnam and five other countries.
“VASEP affirms that Vietnamese shrimp producers and processors have not dumped shrimp on the US market and have not caused damage or threatened to cause material losses to the US shrimp industry,” it said in a statement.
The ruling has given the green light to the Department of Commerce to press ahead with anti-dumping investigations and make a preliminary finding “which could mean import tariffs or quotas” by about June 8, the ITC said.
VASEP, however, said the price competitiveness of Vietnamese shrimp exports was a result of its members’ “natural and technical advantages together with the efforts and hardwork of Vietnamese farmers”.
It called on the US government to base future rulings “on the reality of the situation and avoid imposing absurd conclusions on shrimp farmers, processors and exporters in Vietnam and other defendant countries.”

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

==========

Brewing Trade War Over Shrimp Imports

January 29, 2004
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 8:42 a.m. ET

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — In the midst of a brewing trade war over shrimp, a key environmental group is pointing out that the shrimp American fishermen catch in the Gulf of Mexico is cleaner than pond-raised imports and less damaging to the ocean than shrimp caught elsewhere.

“Imported shrimp are often associated with significant environmental problems due to habitat loss, water quality impairment and wasteful fishing practices,” the Gulf Restoration Network said in a statement to The Associated Press.

American shrimpers filed an antidumping petition against six Asian and South American countries on Dec. 31. The U.S. shrimp fishery alleges that imports are dumped here below fair market prices.

The Gulf Restoration Network, which represents environmental, social justice and citizens’ groups across the Gulf region, stated that it did not take a position on the merits of the antidumping petition.

“We can’t make the judgment call on whether or not there is illegal
activity going on, but we do know that U.S. shrimpers andaquaculturists follow strict, and at times costly, regulations to reduce waste and
pollution,” the group said.

It continued: “The lack off assurance that foreign shrimp was captured or grown in the most environmentally friendly manner possible, should play a part in a consumers choice when buying shrimp.”

The Gulf shrimp fleet has changed with the times and it has reduced,
according to National Marines Fisheries Service data, by-catch to about four pounds of waste for every pound of shrimp caught.

By comparison, international by-catch rates are as high as 11 pounds of waste per pound of caught shrimp, the group said.

In recent years, Gulf shrimpers have been forced to use devices that reduce the amount of fish and turtles caught.

For example, NMFS estimates devices in shrimpers’ nets have reduced red snapper by-catch by 40 percent, according to Jill Jensen, a fisheries assistant with Gulf Restoration Network.

Oceana, an ocean advocacy group, estimates that new devices to exclude turtles from getting caught in shrimp nets will limit turtle deaths in U.S. waters to about 4,000 a year.

Gulf Restoration Network: www.gulfrestorationnetwork.org/

From: mskladany@iatp.org

STORIES/ISSUES
New Report by WWF Raises Concerns Over Lost Wetlands

Gland, Switzerland, 31 January – According to a new WWF report, US$70 billion worth of goods and services from freshwater resources could be at risk annually if governments fail to manage their wetlands sustainably.

The report, The Economic Values of the World’s Wetlands, is the first comprehensive overview of the economic values of the world’s wetlands. It analyzes the 89 existing valuation studies and uses a database covering a wetland area of 630,000 km”, putting the annual value of wetlands at a very conservative US$3.4 billion. But extending this figure using the Ramsar Convention’s global wetland area estimate of 12.8 million km”, the WWF report concludes that the annual global value of wetlands is US$70 billion. It shows that amenity and recreation, flood control, recreational fishing, and water filtration are the most valued functions of wetlands. Asian wetlands have an economic value three times greater than those of North America despite the fact that the total area of Asia’s wetlands analysed in this report is less than half of North America’s. This is due to a higher population density, which means high demand for wetland goods and services.

However, according to the report billions of dollars are spent each year on the draining of wetlands for irrigation, agriculture, and other land uses for immediate economic benefits. This has led to increased flooding, water contamination, and water shortages worldwide, and costs governments large amounts of time and money to later repair such damage.

“Decision-makers often have insufficient understanding of the values of wetlands and fail to consider their protection as a serious issue,” said Dr. Kirsten Schuyt, WWF International’s Resource Economist and co-author of the report. “Wetlands are often perceived to have little or no economic value compared to land-use activities which may yield more visible and immediate economic benefits.”

The report highlights that more than half of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900 as a result of human population increase and development. For example in the Everglades (Florida, US), rapid population increase, development, and urban sprawl have destroyed half of the original wetlands. Attempts to repair the resulting damages such as species decline, the spread of invasive alien species, and severe water shortages, will take decades and cost almost US$8 billion dollars.

WWF believes that governments must recognize the economic, social, and environmental value of wetlands and include the sustainable management of these ecosystems in their national agenda. They should also list their most valuable wetland sites under the Ramsar Convention, the only international treaty on wetland protection. For example, the recent designation by the government of Mali of the Inner Niger Delta (the third largest wetland in the world) as a Ramsar site represents a major commitment to prevent overexploitation of freshwater resources in the area and promote sustainable management of these wetlands.

“Managing wetlands sustainably will aid significantly in meeting the target set at the World Summit on Sustainable Development of halving the number of people without adequate water and sanitation services by 2015,” said Jamie Pittock, Director of WWF’s Living Waters Programme.

For further information:

Lisa Hadeed, Communications Manager
WWF Living Water Programme
E-mail: LHadeed@wwfint.org

Mitzi Borromeo, Press Officer
WWF International
E-mail: MBorromeo@wwfint.org

From: PECK Dwight – Ramsar peck@ramsar.org

——————–

Mangroves Key to Health of Coral Reef Fisheries

WASHINGTON, DC, February 5, 2004 (ENS) – A strong and direct link exists between the number of fish on coral reefs and the health of nearby mangrove forests, according to a new study released today. Researchers say the finding is further evidence of the need to conserve mangrove forests, which are disappearing at a rate that alarms conservationists.

Mangrove forests once covered some 75 percent of the coastlines of tropical and sub-tropical countries, but some 35 percent of the world’s mangroves are already gone. In the Americas mangrove forests are being cleared at a rate faster than the tropical rainforests.

The new study, published in the journal “Nature,” finds coral reef fish twice as abundant at reefs with nearby healthy mangrove forests compared to reefs far from any mangroves.

The researchers measured 164 fish species at reefs in the Central American country of Belize.
Mangrove forests have been called the rainforests of the sea. (Photo courtesy United Nations Environment Program www.unep.org )

One species, the blue striped grunt, was found to be 26 times more abundant on reefs near healthy mangroves. The scientists also report that the rainbow parrotfish is so dependent on mangroves that it became locally absent after the forests were removed.

“There is nothing subtle about these numbers,” said Dr. Peter Mumby, a researcher from the University of Exeter in England and the study’s lead author. “This research shows a direct link between mangroves and the number of fish on coral reefs including several species of snapper that are heavily fished.”

Mangrove forests are groves of salt tolerant marine trees that serve as the interface between land and sea, subject to the twice daily ebb and flow of the tides. They serve several key environmental roles, buffering against the effects of violent storms and filtering pollutants.

Mumby and his colleagues say their study adds to evidence that mangrove forests play a key role for many fish species, serving as a middle habitat between seagrass nurseries and the adult habitat of the reef.

Without mangroves, smaller fish are forced to seek shelter in reefs, where they are exposed to more predators.
The researchers say their study indicates the need for strong conservation efforts to protect mangroves forests, for economic as well as environmental reasons.

“There is a strong economic rationale for protecting mangroves since coral reef fisheries have an estimated annual value of $5.7 billion and many people also depend on them for subsistence,” said Dr. Kenyon Lindeman, a co-author of the report and a senior scientist with Environmental Defense, a U.S. environmental research and advocacy organization.

For centuries mangrove forests were considered by many as useless swamps and many mangroves have been cleared to make way for development.

Many mangroves have been clearcut to make way for shrimp farms. (Photo courtesyEnvironmental Justice Foundationwww.ejfoundation.org )

In recent years 50 percent of mangrove destruction has been due to clearcutting for shrimp farms.
The authors say conservation efforts should include the creation of marine protected areas – a key issue at next week’s meeting of the Convention of Biological Diversity.

The 11 day meeting, which marks the 10th anniversary of the global biodiversity agreement, begins February 9 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“Networks of marine protected areas work for both people and fish,” says Dr. Ghislaine Llewellyn, a marine scientist with World Wildlife Fund and a co-author of the report. “This study is yet more evidence that systems of marine parks are urgently needed to safeguard biodiversity and secure food resources.”

From: “Billy Causey”

ANNOUNCEMENTS
New Website On Mangrove Restoration Launched

Robin Lewis would like to announce the opening of the web page www.mangroverestoration.com  and the availability of the paper:

Stevenson, N. J., R. R. Lewis and P. R. Burbridge. 1999. Disused shrimp ponds and mangrove rehabilitation. Pages 277-297 in “An International Perspective on Wetland Rehabilitation”, W. J. Streever (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. 338 pp.

at: MANGROVE RESTORATION

Hard copies may be reqested from: SherryCapaz@aol.com

——————–

IUCN Announces Small Grants Program

The Small grants for Wetlands Programme (SWP) is managed by the Netherlands Committee for IUCN (NC-IUCN) with funds from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The SWP financially supports small-scale wetland conservation and sustainable management projects that are designed and implemented by local NGOs in developing countries. The list of eligible countries has been considerably extended and now includes some 130 countries.

This new phase of 3 years enables us to plan new rounds for the selection of projects to be financially supported by SWP. The next deadline for the submission of project proposals by local NGOs to SWP is now set on 1st March 2004. The following deadline is 1st September 2004. For 2005 we are planning to set deadlines on 1st February and 1st September, but interested NGOs are strongly advised to check our website or contact us in due time for confirmation.

Please refer to our website at www.wetlands.nl or contact us through our general, email wetlands@wetlands.nl for further information on the current criteria for funding (including the list of eligible countries) and the latest version of the format for project proposals.

Note that proposals that were submitted to SWP before the present announcement were not prepared according to the latest version of the format and were therefore not registered. Therefore all proposals sent to us before this message need to be resubmitted.

We also encourage you to disseminate this letter among your network of NGO contacts.

Esther Blom (Ms)

From: Esther Blom esther.blom@nciucn.nl

——————–

International Conference on Biogeochemistry of mangrove -estuary ecosystem, modeling and I integrated coastal zone management to be held on 24th & 25th April-2004, at School of Environmental
Sciences , Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi – 110 067, India

Mangrove-estuarine environment is creating more organic matter each year than comparably-sized areas of forest, grassland, or agricultural land. In addition to supporting a wide biodiversity of coastal area it also support the surging population over there. The increasing numbers of people have placed a heavy burden on the coastal marine resources. This has been compounded by the inadequate infrastructure and management capacity. Hence it is very essential to understand the nutrient budget and their biogeochemical modeling process controlling their productivity, mobility and transport in these coastal ecosystems.

The Conference will look into key areas of interest for sustaining or enhancing productivity and functions of estuarine-mangrove and coastal ecosystems along with ways to promote a better understanding of the role of estuaries and mangroves in the coastal food web. The conference will address the following specific objectives of these ecosystems;
1. Assessment of biogeochemistry of mangrove-estuaries and coastal areas their nutrient fluxes, budgeting and modeling.2.Aquaculture and other anthropogenic impact on estuaries and mangroves. Their interaction with coastal ground water.3.Impact of use of toxic pesticides and antibiotics, in addition to shrimp feeds.4.The pollution impacts on these ecosystem and necessary management plan to combat these impacts on the coastal zones.
THEMES OF SEMINAR: 1.Nutrient distribution and cycling in mangrove estuary region (MER).,2. MER Nutrient distribution and modeling 3. MER Nutrient budgeting.4. MER and its interaction with Coastal ground Water quality 5. MER Sediment-water interaction 6. Land use and soil impact to MER
REGISTRATION FEE;1.Participants (Indian): Rs.1000/-,2.Participants (Foreign) : USD 100 3.Accompanying member : Rs.500/-(Indian) : USD 75(foreign), 4.Students : Rs.250/-(Indian), : USD 25(foreign)

CONTACT ADDRESS: Dr. AL.RAMANATHAN, Organizing Secretary,School of Environmental Sciences,
Jawaharlal Nehru university,New Delhi-110067, India ,Ph. 91-11-26704314 (O)/ 26194938(R) Cell: 94432-91197;
alr0400@mail.jnu.ac.in , alrjnu@hotmail.com , www.jnu.ac.in , WWW.envisjnu.net

From: “Dr. A.L. Ramanathan” alr0400@mail.jnu.ac.in

——————–

RAMSAR SITES Database Now Online

The Ramsar Sites Database is available on the Wetlands International website.

From: “Henderikse, Saskia” Saskia.Henderikse@Wetlands.org

CALL FOR PAPERS
The Call for POSTERS deadline for the 2nd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration is quickly approaching!

The 2nd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration will be held September 12-15, in Seattle, Washington. Restore America’s Estuaries will host the conference, to be held at the Washington Convention and Trade Center and Grand Hyatt Seattle. This is the premiere nationwide forum focused solely on advancing the knowledge, pace, practice and success of coastal and estuarine habitat restoration. Incorporating the non-profit, government, business, tribes and academic sectors, the Conference will enable networking and communication throughout this growing movement.

Restore America’s Estuaries is pleased to announce a Student Poster Contest in conjunction with the 2nd National Conference. Posters are encouraged in
six major themes: planning and priority-setting; best practices in restoration; science and technology; monitoring and evaluation; community involvement; and policy and funding. Cash prizes will be awarded.

Visit our website for more information on the Student Poster Contest, the full “Call for Presentations and Posters” and general conference information.

For more information, please contact Suzanne Giles at Restore America’s Estuaries, suzannegiles@estuaries.org , 703-524-0248.

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Email circulation: ggallon@ecolog.com
Vol. 9, No. 3, February 4, 2004

FARMED SALMON PCB ISSUE GOES TO COURT

The study on persistent organic pollutants in salmon, reported in the January 9 issue of Science magazine (see GL, Vol. 9, No. 2), continues to attract fairly intense criticism from the salmon farming and salmon feed industries. Almost all of the industry response revolves around the health benefits of eating salmon and how the pollutant levels are below government guidelines.
The industry kneejerk response (farmed salmon are safe; people should continue to enjoy two meals of fish each week) misses the point of the Science magazine article and of the public?s expectations when it comes to responding to environmental challenges. Not one of the critics is saying that people should stop eating salmon, at least in moderation, but all of the critics are suggesting that serious efforts should be made to identify and eliminate the source of the contamination. As far as GL has been able to determine, no government or industry organization is addressing the problem in this way, though our past experience suggests they probably are searching for the source of the problem but are not informing the public of their activities.
Faced with an industry that seems to have no interest other than to deny the problem, the Environmental Working Group and the Center for Environmental Health, both US NGOs, have filed legal notice that they plan to sue many manufacturers, distributors and retailers of farmed salmon over potentially dangerous levels of PCBs in the fish. California law requires that a company must either reformulate its product or notify consumers if the product contains a hazardous level of any chemical. The companies have 60 days to respond. GL will keep you informed.
Ontario Comparison
It is worth noting that the Ontario Government’s 2003-2004 Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish says that women of childbearing age and children under 15 years of age should only eat fish in the governments “no advisory” category. Based on the published data, all the farmed salmon tested for the study reported in Science would be in this category, though a few samples in Europe appear to be close to the line for the pesticide toxaphene. Ontario advisories for PCBs kick in at a concentration of 0.5 parts per million or 500 parts per billion. The highest concentration of PCBs found in farmed salmon was about 50 parts per billion, or 10 times less than the Ontario governments minimum advisory for sport fish, including wild salmon. The Canadian samples had lower concentrations than the maximum. Ontario advisories for dioxins kick in at 10 parts per trillion. The highest concentration of PCBs found in farmed salmon was about 3 parts per trillion.. Canadian samples had concentrations less than two parts per trillion.

Not everyone accepts the Ontario criteria, but the data reinforce the focus on reducing levels of persistent toxics in farmed salmon, not avoiding consumption of what is otherwise an apparently very healthful fish. Another Cross-species Feeding Issue Meanwhile, one of Britain’s leading marine activists, Don Staniford, Managing Director of the Salmon Farm Protest Group, has drawn GL’s attention to another farmed salmon issue. Two large New Zealand salmon farming companies are feeding their fish ground chicken feathers, otherwise known as feathermeal. Feathermeal is known to be a good source of protein but, as Staniford says,”Salmon don’t eat chickens. Feeding animals to other animals is not a good idea, given the problems in the UK with BSE.”

According to RTD info, a European Commission report on research, a researcher at the University of Milan found a normal prion protein in the brain tissue of salmon in 1997.. In 2003 a Science Update article in Nature reported the possibility that that fish could suffer a BSE-like disease caused by proteins similar to the prions which cause BSE (cattle), scrapie (sheep), and variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (humans). Researchers are studying the question of whether transfer could occur between fish and animals. They say it is unlikely, but it will be several years before we know for sure. The Precautionary Principle states that if we are not sure we should play it safe.

Email editorial: info@cialgroup.com

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New Report Documents Efforts to Privatize Ocean for Fish Farming

Legislation Considered this Year Would Open the Door

Minneapolis – The aquaculture industry is working along with U.S. regulatory agencies to privatize parts of the ocean on behalf of corporate fish farming interests, according to a new report by the coalition of consumer and environmental groups.

Open ocean aquaculture (OOA) is the practice of fish farming 3-200 miles off the American coast. Various government agencies; most notably NOAA Fisheries, as well as Sea Grant programs and private companies, are currently in the process of aggressively pursuing OOA development.

Currently there are experimental and demonstration off shore fish operations going on in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, and Texas. Fish involved in these projects are high value species including: red drum, amberjack, summer flounder, cod, halibut, red snapper and cobia. Commercial operations are already underway in Hawaii and Puerto Rico

Later this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will submit its “offshore aquaculture bill” to Congress that will set up a policy framework for the widespread commercialization of OOA operations. If the bill is passed by Congress it could green light not only the inception of a brand new giant bio-polluting industry, but a wholesale privatization
of the Continental Shelf and an end to public stewardship over the oceans, the report concluded.

The report outlines possible environmental risks associated with offshore aquaculture including: fish escapes, transference of disease to wild fish, discharge of sewage, and unsustainable use of marine resources.

“By law, the sea and seabed are ?held in the public trust?, and ?conveyance of exclusive private use rights? is not allowed,” said Dr. Mike Skladany, Marine and Fish Conservation Director at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. “Altering this precedent could open up similar opportunities to a raft of competing corporate interests. Oil and gas drilling, sub-sea mining, abandonment of oil rigs, waste disposal and commercial rocket
launching are just some of the activities that would benefit from such a redefinition, and there is mounting evidence that a wholesale privatization of the continental shelf, may be in the offing.
A major motivation behind the push for OOA is the growing opposition to coastal fish farms and tough state regulations. By locating off shore, fish farming operations could escape state control. For example, it would be possible to locate farms 3 miles off Alaska, though it has banned fish farming to protect its hugely productive marine eco-system, or raise genetically engineered fish 3 miles off California, Maryland or Washington State despite their ban on these organisms.

The report calls for a moratorium on commercial open ocean aquaculture development until national aquaculture legislation is adopted and comprehensive, open and transparent regulations are formalized. This legislation should include:

- A mandatory set of national standards for Open Ocean Aquaculture.
- OOA permits issued only after conducting a rigorous environmental impact statement that is consistent with the requirements of NEPA, and at least a
60 day public comment period.
- No part of the water column or bottom-lands anywhere in the EEZ to be de facto privatized.
- Leases/permits to be temporary, and renewable only if in compliance with
strict environmental regulations.
- Environmental impacts from net-pen culture regulated by adopting regulations and developing technologies that eliminate as fully as possible; fish escapees, disease transfer to wild fish, depletion of global fish
stocks for farm raised fish feed, and discharges of waste,.
- Indigenous peoples? free access to their lands and territories fully ensured

The report was authored by the Offshore Aquaculture Working Group, which includes Ben Belton, Mike Skladany and Anne Mosness, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minneapolis.
Jeremy Brown, Food and Society Policy Fellow, Bellingham, Washington. Tracie Letterman, Center for Food Safety, Washington, D.C. Lynn Hunter, Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Read the executive summary and full report at: www.iatp.org/fish

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy.

From: mritchie@iatp.org

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Copyright 2004 The Chronicle Publishing Co. The San Francisco Chronicle

FEBRUARY 4, 2004, WEDNESDAY, FINAL EDITION

The fish you buy to carry a label this fall;

You’ll know its origin and whether it’s wild or farmed

SOURCE: Chronicle Environment Writer

BYLINE: Jane Kay

BODY: Seafood sold in U.S. supermarkets — everything from wild salmon to bagged frozen shrimp to Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks — will carry new labels this fall stating where it was caught, where it was processed and whether it is wild or farmed.

The new labeling requirement is the result of a little noticed provision of a federal spending bill that recently passed Congress. It singles out the seafood industry as the first to conform to a “country of origin” food labeling law that the beef and pork industries have vigorously opposed.

Consumer and environmental groups are big advocates of labeling, saying it gives consumers choices that they didn’t have before. They cite recent studies, for example, showing that farmed salmon is higher in PCBs and other contaminants than wild salmon and may pose problems for the environment.

Some fishing industry groups also welcomed the requirement, saying it is a way to promote U.S.-caught wild fish.

“A lot of people would like to buy American seafood products and support American jobs and American fishermen. Our seafood products are the best in the world in terms of quality and how they’re handled,” said Glen Spain, a regional director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations in Seattle.

But most of the seafood industry criticizes the provision as onerous,
expensive and unnecessary. Fish will be categorized according to the
nationality of the boat that catches them, and keeping boatloads of fish separate as they go through processing will be a logistical nightmare, they
say.

“Seafood is going to be the guinea pig for the food industry,” said Linda Candler, spokeswoman for the National Fisheries Institute, the leading trade group for the fish and seafood industry. Candler said that of all food products, fish is the only wild-caught food and therefore the hardest to categorize by nationality.

The 2002 farm bill included a “country of origin” labeling requirement for all food commodities, but the requirement was never funded. The new omnibus spending bill, passed Jan. 23, provided money only for the seafood labeling program and delayed the regulations for other commodities until September 2006.

Lobbyists say the mandatory labeling provision for fish got through because of Sen. Ted Stevens, the powerful Republican from Alaska who chairs the Appropriations Committee. Stevens supported the labeling as a way to promote his state’s wild fish industry.

Commercial fishermen caught more than 99 percent of the salmon consumed worldwide in 1980, according to a Stanford University study. Today salmon farms supply about 40 percent of the salmon sold.

Beef and pork were left out of the mandatory labeling program as a result of heavy lobbying by trade groups. But in the wake ofconcerns over “mad cow disease” and pesticide residues on produce, some consumer groups say it’s only a matter of time before other U.S. industries will be pressured to join other nations in labeling.

“There’s no justification for keeping the public in the dark about where the rest of their food comes from,” said Jonathan Kaplan, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “A label gives consumers an opportunity to buy locally grown foods.”

Beef, pork and produce lobbyists won exemptions to the labeling law earlier this month with arguments that they lacked the infrastructure to make it work.

“Fish producers didn’t share the same concern (over the labeling law), that ranchers did,” said Bryan Dierlam, director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “Ranchers stepped out and said there ought to be a better way. They were joined by pork producers. Many fruit and vegetable producers spoke out as well,” Dierlam said.

Some in the beef industry thought labeling would help assuage consumer fears over BSE, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, because the United States has improved practices over the last years.

But his influential group supported the delay until 2006, arguing that the law doesn’t give the Agricultural Department enough flexibility in writing
regulations.

“The law declares that you affirmatively identify the origin on each piece of meat. The infrastructure of our industry does not exist to do that. Our hope is we can work with Congress and come up with a more workable approach,” Dierlam said. “Absolutely, we’ll be watching to see what happens with seafood.”

From: mskladany@iatp.org

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The law

Provisions of the seafood labeling law:

– The term “wild” fish means naturally born or hatchery-raised fish and shellfish harvested in the wild, including a fillet, steak, nugget and any other flesh from wild fish or shellfish.

To bear the United States “country of origin” label, wild fish and shellfish must be caught in U.S. waters or by a U.S.-flagged vessel and processed in the United States or aboard a U.S.-flagged vessel. If the fish is processed elsewhere, the country also must be put on the label.

– The term “farm-raised” means fillets, steaks, nuggets and any other flesh from a farm-raised fish or shellfish.

To carry the U.S. country of origin label, farmed fish and shellfish must be derived exclusively from fish or shellfish hatched, raised and processed in the United States.

– Food markets that carry a full range of grocery products are subject to the law. Specialty fish markets and butcher stores are exempt. The labeling requirement doesn’t pertain to fish sold in restaurants.

Also exempt are fish and shellfish that have been substantially altered in processing. Pollack in fish sticks and nuggets must be labeled; but Pollack made into “surimi,” a paste, need not.

If the seafood is mixed, such as bagged shrimp, the countries of origin would be listed alphabetically.

– The information must be conveyed by a label, stamp, mark, placard or other clear and visible sign on the fish or on the package, or displayed at the final point of sale to consumers.

Violators may be fined a maximum of $10,000 for each violation.E-mail Jane Kay at jkay@sfchronicle.com .

Late Friday News, 131st Ed., 18 Jan 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 131st Edition of the Late Friday News. This edition is respectfully dedicated to the fond memory of Manik Saha, a renowned journalist who had worked in Khulna, Bangladesh. Manik was an outspoken and brave anti-shrimp activist and civil society leader. He was assassinated on January 15th. His loss is all of our loss in this ongoing struggle for peace and for justice. Our deepest condolences for his family and loved ones!

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 131st Edition, 18 January 2004
FEATURE STORY
WHEN SHRIMP FARMS AND SHOREBIRDS DON’T MIX

MAP WORKS
Gearing up for a month of “Toolkit” Workshops
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves
MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour–Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand
Anti-dumping action could set back ties’
Shrimp exporters ready to fight case
Free Shrimp
Threat to stop US soy import orders

S. ASIA

Bangladesh
Shrimp exporters suggest certification at every stage
Bandit gangs active in Sundarbans
Perspectives of the coastal and marine fisheries of the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh
Tiger census in Sundarban start today

LATIN AMERICA
Brazil
Meeting will define Brazilian government position against U.S. shrimpers for anti-dumping petition.
Shrimp Farm Worker Dies of Chemical Poisoning

Ecuador
Ecuador establishes National Ramsar Committee

Panama
World Wetlands Day, 2004

STORIES/ISSUES
In Quest Of Sustainable Sustainability Criteria
Statement of the SEA Fish Network for Justice against WTO in India

ANNOUNCEMENTS
The next UNU-UNESCO programme on biodiversity of
mangrove ecosystems
“Earth Talk” Environmental Sustainability Discussion Community to Be Launched

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
The East African Seas Congress 2003 Biodiversity Report
The 2nd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration
Feathers, Flyways and Friends Program” (FFFP)
UNU-UNESCO program on biodiversity of mangrove ecosystems
“Earth Talk” Environmental Sustainability Discussion

CALL FOR PAPERS
2nd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration
XI World Congress of Rural Sociology

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Scottish Farmed Salmon the Most Contaminated in the World
New warning over poisons in farmed salmon
Farmed Salmon Have More Contaminants Than Wild Ones, Study Finds
Science press up-dates n Farmed Salmon
Fishy explanation
Scottish Farmed Salmon Industry Sent Reeling

AROUND THE CORNER
Farmed Salmon, Pro and Con

FEATURE STORY
Editor’s Note: I want to first thank Dr. Yara Schaeffer-Novelli for her important article concerning a too often ignored problem of migratory shorebird decline due to habitat loss from such industries as shrimp farming.This important issue could add some weight to the case against shrimp aquaculture imports which are currently flooding the consumer markets in the Developed nations. This article was previously published undr the wrong author’s name, as it was Dr. Novelli, not Dr. Cintron as was previously stated, who wrote the piece.

WHEN SHRIMP FARMS AND SHOREBIRDS DON’T MIX

By Dr. Yara Schaeffer-Novelli
The International Wader Study Group (IWSG), a Specialist Group of Wetlands International and the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission, has concluded that the majority of populations of shorebirds (waders) of known population trend are in decline all around the world, making this issue a matter of international conservation concern. Of populations with known trends, 48% are declining, in contrast to just 16% which are increasing. Thus, three times as many populations are in decline as are increasing. According to the IWSG the reasons for these declines are diverse and poorly understood.

Although the causes for coastal wetland conversion are indeed diverse we find it surprising that the rapid growth of shrimp farming on a global scale could not be identified as a significant agent for these population declines. In part this unawareness could be a result of the fact that waders conservation has weak local support in the wintering grounds and stopover areas, and many of these areas are too remote for most US and European researchers to work on.

The political strength of the rural poor of these coastal areas is too weak, and they have little say on land use decisions that are made by a politically powerful elite.

As a result valuable resources are being destroyed and unique ecological processes endangered at a rapid rate, while in the Northern Hemisphere the public believes everything is well because they are investing millions of dollars in domestic conservation actions. Paradoxically most of this shrimp (subsidized by the fact that it is produced without regard to environmental regulations) is produced on converted, ecologically sensitive, coastal lands before being exported to the USA, Japan and European markets.

These same Consumer countries that are allowing unrestrained importation of shrimp cultured under conditions that subsidize environmental degradation and conversion of coastal wetlands, are weakening their own substantial outlays in domestic conservation efforts as well as their international investments in conservation, thus fueling further destruction!

The conservation problems of aquaculture on wader populations cannot be addressed solely by in-country (wintering and breeding areas) conservation actions but must be complemented by concurrent actions to educate shrimp consumers and by imposing trade-related incentives to influence conservation abroad. Consumer demand is such a trade-related incentive that must be explored to mitigate the environmental impacts of aquaculture on wader migrations.

Consumers have considerable power and responsibility. A consumer demand reduction in the United States and Europe could have a significant impact on the farmed shrimp industry and the governments, as the international financial agencies that support it.

Experience shows that consumers can be mobilized around environmental issues related to the production of internationally traded commodities. Shorebirds, because of their “flagship” status could be used to promote shrimp production under more environmentally sustainable, socially equitable and ethical ways if it were made possible to differentiate these products in the market. Ironically, farmed shrimp is now sold in the U.S. as “Turtle Safe” because it is not trawled and does not endanger seaturtle habitats, but consumers are not aware how bird and (especially) socially unfriendly these farm-raised shrimp are.

Some obstacles to shorebird conservation in the Western Hemisphere include the following scenarios:
- Shorebird conservation has been a restricted academic/research pursuit;
- Shorebirds lack a broad constituency on their wintering and breeding grounds. Whereas shorebirds have a constituency in the US and Canada, they “are on their own” outside of N. America;
- Conservation of shorebirds is not a biological priority for most countries. Critical wintering or stopover habitats are perceived as “barren waste lands” suitable for conversion to other “more profitable” uses.

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us, but when we see land as a community to which we belong we may begin to use it with love and respect” (Aldo Leopold’s land ethic).

From Yara Schaeffer-Novelli, Head of BIOMA, a center for research and outreach on tropical coastal wetlands, especially mangrove ecosystems.
Oceanographic Institute University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo State, Brazil.

MAP WORKS
Gearing up for a month of “Toolkit” Workshops

Of MAP’s various programs, the one highest in demand among coastal communities of Indonesia is “MAP’s Toolkit” which consists of various sustainable livelihood alternatives and appropriate technologies. “Toolkit” concepts range from sustainable aquaculture techniques to development of alternative products from mangroves, use of improved cookstoves and even low-cost wastewater treatment using mangroves. These programs are aimed at helping fisherfolk communities decrease dependence on the fisheries sector in times of decreasing fish catches, and often involve the development of fish processing methods in their own villages, marketing strategies, small business management and creation of small savings and loan groups.

Over the next month, two workshops will run concurrently at the Coastal Community Resource Center “Daseng Lolaro” in Tiwoho Village, Bunaken National Marin Park, North Sulawesi.

The first toolkit workshop is a 4-week long hands-on training on building bamboo furniture. Twenty-five (25) villagers from Tiwoho will learn the ins and outs of the bamboo furniture building craft from two experienced trainers from Cebongan Village, Yogyakarta, Java. The trainers, Pak Paidi and Pak Sunarka, have held two successful trainings in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi and Timor, the latter producing over 200 pieces of hand-crafted furniture that were sold at an exhibition held at the end of the training. Not only did all of the furniture sell in one day, orders were placed for several months worth of furniture and the participants to this day have formed several small successful businesses. Half of the furniture (chairs, tables, bookshelves, cabinets, bamboo sofas…) resulting from the workshop will be placed in the Coastal Community Resource Center which will act as a showroom, while the other half will be put up for sale at an exhibition similar to the one in Timor.

Most of the furniture built will use bamboo treated at the CCRC bamboo treatment center which has been in operation for over a year. For information about bamboo treatment, download the “Vertical Soak Diffusion” manual (PDF file) off of the Environmental Bamboo Foundation’s website: www.bamboocentral.org.
This manual was produced in conjunction with MAP during the development of the CCRC.

Aside from learning how to create bamboo furniture, MAP facilitators will train participants in integrated bamboo management including species selection, sustainable harvesting techniques, clump management for maximum growth, and reforestation. Clear cutting of the government “protected” upland rainforest behind the village of Tiwoho has resulted in a lower water table and erosion in the past three years. Bamboo will be replanted in clear-cut areas and a new village ordinance for the protection of the upper watershed as well as a 10-person management team will be created by the villagers themselves. This bamboo should be ready for sustainable harvesting in 3-5 years. In the meantime villagers will have to sustainably harvest the little amount of bamboo left in Tiwoho or buy bamboo from the Minahasa highlands, which will decrease profits but act as an incentive to sustainably manage their bamboo resource in the future. Villagers will also be trained in small business management and marketing/advertising, and have discussed forming a bamboo builders’ guild or cooperative after the training.

The Second exciting training, being co-facilitated by the Indonesian Improved Cookstove Work Group (JKTI) and Yayasan KELOLA, is called “Improved Cookstoves and Ergonomic Kitchen Design.” During this workshop, 30 villagers and several members of local NGO’s will be trained in portable improved cookstove making, institutional stove making, palm sugar stove building, palm sugar processing (from coconut and nypah palm), commercialization of improved cookstoves, and improved kitchen design.

Participants will begin by touring several kitchens in the village and learning principles of sanitation, proper waste disposal, and creation of a smoke free environment (most local kitchens use wood stoves without chimneys causing respiratory disease primarily amongst women, children, and the elderly). The group will then design the kitchen for the CCRC as a demonstration of an ergonomic kitchen.

Participants will order bamboo kitchen furnishings to be built by the workshop described above, and NGO members will design signs and brochures as public education tools for future visitors to the centers. A series of Videos, books and CD-Roms on improved kitchens and cookstoves will also be donated to CCRC’s “CORAL” library.

Next participants will create various types of fuel-efficient cookstoves, some portable and others permanent. The CCRC kitchen will demonstrate both types of stoves and will feature a large palm sugar cookstove, which will be available for use by the villagers for small scale production of coconut and Nypah palm sugar. For more information on improved cookstoves visit the Asian Regional Cookstove Program website at www.arecop.org.

Finally participants will take a study tour up the the Minahasa Highlands, where a group of villagers working with JKTI and USAID’s Natural Resource Management Program have built several improved palm sugar stoves and are currently operating a successful coconut palm sugar business.

By the next Late Friday News we should have some interesting updates regarding the Toolkit workshops, and maybe even some pictures posted on the MAP website. By the end of the month I promise some good news and a few interesting photos.

For anyone interested in further information, please feel free to email me:

Note: “Clumping (sympoidal) bamboos are non-invasive. They do not ruin building foundations or run into your neighbors yard. Running (monopodial) bamboo does that. They grow very fast when young, and the culms are larger than those of running bamboo. They require little maintenance, although simple clump management and some compost will benefit both the grower and the bamboos.

From Ben Brown, Mangrove Action Project
Indonesian Program Coordinator
map-indo@dps.centrin.net.id

 

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ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery caf of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

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Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net  for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

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Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. GROUNDS FOR CHANGE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair Trade Federation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

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Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand

Mangrove Action Project Eco-study tour entitled “SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM : An experiential study of Thailand’s coastal resources and the people who depend on them” is scheduled to take place in Thailand 4-17 July 2004. This program will be lead by Dr. G. Lamar Robert of Chiang Mai University and he can be contacted for further information cho@chiangmai.ac.th

======
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being considered for the month of June or July, 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

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John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first of many Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32�C
Humid.: 70 %
(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand

Bangkok Post Jan.10, 2004

SHRIMP EXPORTS TO US

Anti-dumping action could set back ties’

Somsak denies farms sold cut-price prawns

Kultida Samabuddhi
The United States’ anti-dumping action against Thai shrimp farmers was a
serious matter and could set back Thai-US relations, said Agriculture and
Coorperatives Minister Somsak Thepsutin.

”Thailand has always supported the US in various ways, so it is disappointing if Washington hurts our agricultural sector by imposing anti-dumping measures. However, what is more important is that Thai shrimp
farmers did not dump their produce in the American market as claimed,” said Mr Somsak.

He was speaking following a meeting with Republican senator Christopher Bond
who was here to promote genetically-modified crops and offer help to Thailand’s irrigation programme.

His visit came less than a week after senior agricultural officials met the US embassy’s agricultural councillor. The US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission are investigating a claim by the Southern Shrimp Alliance that several countries including Thailand, Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, and Vietnam have been
dumping shrimp on the US market. It was expected to take them seven months
to investigate the case.

Eight southern US states alleged Thai shrimp was sold in the US market at 57% below production cost, causing economic loss for US shrimp producers. Thai farmers produce shrimp at a lower cost than their American counterparts because of their expertise and a more suitable environment, Mr Somsak said.

Thailand is the region’s largest shrimp exporter to the US with annual shipments of 86,239 tonnes, followed by China with 49,076 tonnes, Vietnam 40,557 tonnes, and India 33,484 tonnes.

Senator Bond, meanwhile, urged Thailand to embrace genetic engineering technology and become its partner in adopting a pro-GMO policy. However, Mr Somsak told him that Thailand’s stance would be determined not
just by the agriculture ministry but also by the National Biotechnology Committee, the Science and Technology Ministry, and the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.

The government is considering whether to allow field trials of GMO crops. Ampon Kitti-ampon, director of the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards, said about 60% of soybean and animal-feed corn imported from the US was genetically modified.

The Agriculture Ministry was being approached by the US administration often
at the moment, said Mr Ampon. This was partly because Washington wanted to increase its role in agriculture in this region to match Chinese and Japanese involvement.
Senator Bond also offered help to the ministry’s irrigation development projects, Mr Somsak said. However, the minister told the US senator that Thailand would no longer accept foreign financial aid. Technical assistance would be preferable.

From: mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

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Bangkok Post Jan.7, 2004

TRADE / DUMPING CLAIMS

Shrimp exporters ready to fight case

Lawyers sought to press issue in US

Phusadee Arunmas

Thai shrimp exporters said yesterday they were ready to fight back against US allegations that Thailand and five other countries have been dumping shrimp on the US market at unfairly low prices. Rachane Potjanasuntorn, the director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the government would work closely with the related associations to hire lawyers to fight the case. According to Mr Rachane, a questionnaire on production costs, export volumes and shrimp prices sent by the US International Trade Commission to Thai shrimp producers was expected to become available today. The completed questionnaires will then be sent back to the United States within 10 days.

Rulings from the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission are expected by June. Mr Rachane said Thailand would work closely with the five other affected countries to discuss strategies for fighting back against the allegations. However, Mr Rachane said state officials and three related associations had yet to agree on whether lawyers would be hired individually by each exporter or collectively.

The US Southern Shrimp Alliance _ representing harvesters, processors and distributors in eight southern states _ filed the suit on Dec 31 with the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission.
The suit targets Vietnam, Thailand, China, India, Brazil and Ecuador.

As for Thailand, US shrimp producers alleged that Thai exporters sold shrimp in the US for 57% less than in Japan.
Vietnam’s seafood producers have already hired the New York law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, which has represented Thailand in the past. Legal fees could cost from five to 10 million baht if lawyers were hired individually by each Thai producer.

The United States, the world’s largest shrimp consumer, is Thailand’s biggest market, importing around 120,000 tonnes of Thai shrimp worth around $1 billion, or about half of Thailand’s annual shrimp exports.

“I would like to emphasise that Thailand sells shrimp in the US market and elsewhere at fair prices,” said Panisuan Jamnarnwej, president of the Thai Frozen Foods Association.

Poonkeite Thangsombat, president of the Thai Food Processors’ Association, said the US allegations were quite surprising, since the complaint list included air-tight packaged shrimp in addition to frozen ones.

“More surprisingly, Indonesia and Mexico are not included in the allegations, even though Indonesia for instance, exports about 30,000 tonnes to the US market,” he said.

————

Free shrimp

Protesting shrimp farmers give away free shrimp to passers-by during a demonstration outside Government House yesterday. Farmers demanded help to counter the possibility of US anti-dumping measures being taken against Thai shrimp. Read story

Bangkok Post Jan.13, 2004

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TRADE DISPUTE

Threat to stop US soy import orders

Nine Thai food groups will stop importing soybeans and soy waste from the United States if the US Commerce Ministry decides to impose higher tariffs on Thai prawns.

The US has accused Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam of dumping prawns on its market.

Setthasan Setthakaroon, chairman of the soy and rice bran oil manufacturers’ association, said his group and eight others would stop importing soybeans and soy waste in protest if the US Commerce Ministry decided on Feb 17 to take action against Thailand on prawn dumping charges.

The other groups were the Thai prawn association, the Thai seafood manufacturers’ association, the Thai frozen food association, the Thai sea prawn raisers’ association, the association of chicken raisers for export, the Thai animal feed association, Thai ready-to-eat food manufacturers’ association and the animal feed users’ association, he added.

An alliance of US southern prawn raisers had asked the ministry to increase tariffs on Thai prawns even though other major prawn exporters such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico were selling prawns at similar prices.

About half the three million tonnes of soybeans and soy waste imported by Thailand each year come from the US. Mr Setthasan said some businesses could not stop importing soybeans and soy waste from the US until their contracts expired.

From

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S. ASIA

Bangladesh

Shrimp exporters suggest certification at every stage

The Daily Star Business Report, January 7, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

To avoid any adverse situation in shrimp exports, the whole chain of the industry from production of fry to shipment of processed shrimp should be brought under strict surveillance and certification process, exporters suggested.

The need for certification at every stage of shrimp export is felt as some Bangladeshi exporters have been alerted by buyers from the EU countries after banned anti-biotic elements like nitrofuren were found in some shipments.

The exporters however said they do not need to use any banned chemical or anti-biotic in their shrimp processing plants. “Fish feed contains such elements and shrimp fry carry them to the hatchery level,” said a shrimp exporter.

The exporters said if all stakeholders including hatchery units, ice plants and fish feed producers are brought under certification process, this kind of problems could be tackled to protect the country’s second largest export earning sector after ready made garments.

As the country does not have lab facility for detecting nitrofuren and some other banned elements, they said the government should take immediate steps to set up such laboratories at major shrimp producing zones.

“The present situation is not alarming. But we have to take necessary steps now to avoid any adverse situation in future,” said Quazi Monirul Haque, president of Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA).

After nitrofuren was found in 11 shipments, the EU countries served notifications on nine Bangladeshi exporting companies bringing them in the list of ‘Rapid Alert System for Food & Feed.’

According to the BFFEA, if any banned anti-biotic or chemical is found in any shipment, the next five shipments from the same company are tested.

“In fact, these 11 shipments were made between 2001 and 2003. The banned chemicals were identified at the retail level after going through reprocessing, distribution, super market chains,” said an official of BFFEA.

Meanwhile, an inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Commerce Minister Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury on Monday decided to form a high level committee to look into the problems the shrimp sector is now facing.

Apart from the ministries concerned the associations involved in shrimp processing and shrimp feed production will be included in the committee to be headed by the additional secretary of commerce ministry.

Representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Fisheries & Livestock and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, leaders of BFFEA, hatchery associations were present at the meeting held at the commerce ministry conference room.

From: Zakir Kibria

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Bandit gangs active in Sundarbans
NewAge, January 10, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

At least 20 gangs of robbers, locally known as �Banadasyu Bahini’, are active in the Sundarbans, one of the World Heritage Sites.
Their criminal activities include dacoity, kidnapping, mugging and plundering the forest’s resources, according to the sources in the forest department and local people.
The robbers target mainly woodcutters, fishermen, honey collectors, forest officers and employees and, above all, local and foreign tourists and the people who come to hold picnic there.
The criminal activities in the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, increase enormously between October and April every year.
The reason behind this is that the woodcutters, fishermen and honey collectors usually go to the Sundarbans during this period.
At that time a huge number of local and foreign tourists also visit the forest.
During this time the Sundarban forest division earns revenue amounting crores of taka through giving passes and permits to the visitors there.
The area of the Sundarbans (Bangladesh part), including creeks, rivulets, canals and rivers, is 6,017 square kilometres.
The jungle covers part of Khulna, Satkhira and Bagerhat districts. About one-third of the area is creeks, rivers and canals.
The robbers can easily escape after committing various crimes by using boats and trawlers.
There are at least 20 gangs of robbers, usually named after the gang leader in the forest.
The most active gangs are Kuddus Bahini, Nazrul Bahini, Nomir Bahini, Babul Bahini, Billal Bahini, Shawkat Bahini, Atiar Bahini, Aziz Bahini, Kalu Bahini, Motaleb Bahini, Master Bahini, Edhu Bahini, Rafiq Bahini, Tiger Bahini, Razzaq Bahini and Gani Bahini.
The underworld godfathers, living in towns and cities, allegedly patronise these gangs.
The law enforcers sometimes become active to combat the criminal gangs there. Even, the BDR and police arrested a number of armed robbers following gunfights with criminal forces in the jungle.
Gang leaders Kalu of Kalu Bahini and Ali of Ali Bahini were recently killed during a gunfight with the law enforcers. The law enforcers recovered arms and ammunitions from them.
When contacted, Ali Kabir Haider, conservator of forest, told New Age that even the employees and officers of the forest department are not secure there. The robbers could attack the forest officials.
Abdul Aziz Sarkar, deputy inspector-general of the Khulna range police, also admitted the existence of several criminal gangs in the Sundarbans.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

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Perspectives of the coastal and marine fisheries of the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh

Md. Shahidul Islam,
Laboratory of Marine Stock Enhancement Biology, Division of Applied Biosciences, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa-oiwakecho, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan

Available online 27 August 2003.

Abstract

Bangladesh has vast coastal and marine resources along its south edge. Due to the geographical position and climatic condition, the coastal area of the country is known as one of the highly productive areas of the world. Bangladesh is rich not only in terms of its vast water areas but also in terms of the biological diversity. One of the unique features of the coastal areas is the influence of the mangrove forests, which support a high number of fishes and other commercially important aquatic organisms. The biological and ecological values of the Bay of Bengal have been pointed out by many authors. The coastal and marine fisheries have been playing considerable roles not only in the social and economic development of the country but also in the regional ecological balance. A large number of commercially important fishes have long been exploited which are of high export values. Shrimp aquaculture has become a highly traded export-oriented industry for the last few decades. In spite of having bright prospects, marine aquaculture on a commercial basis as well as marine stock enhancement and sea ranching are yet to be developed. The marine fisheries sector has been suffering from chronic disintegration and mismanagement that have led to many consequences. Most of the commercially important fish stocks are either overexploited or under threat. Marine pollution has reached a level that could create an unmanageable situation in the near future; coastal shrimp farming has generated considerable debates due to its adverse environmental and socioeconomic impacts. The Bay of Bengal and its coastal areas are one of the most poorly studied areas of the world although it possesses high potential for further stock improvement. Proper attention is needed in every aspect of exploitation, handling and processing, export and marketing as well as in biological and institutional management strategies. The Bay of Bengal has been increasingly important for local development as well as for a global perspective. The coastal and marine fisheries of the Bay of Bengal are briefly reviewed in this paper to provide a salient feature of the available information and resource base and to identify future research and management needs.

Corresponding author. Tel.: +81-75-753-6225; fax: +81-75-753-6229

Perspectives of the coastal and marine fisheries of the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh,
Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 46, Issue 8, Pages 763-796 (August 2003)
Md. Shahidul Islam

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Tiger census in Sundarban start today

NewAge, January 13, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladesh and India begin today a joint tiger census in Sundarban as part of a United Nations Development Programme-assisted conservation plan.
The census gets underway in the Indian part of the largest mangrove forest in the world today. The counting of tigers in the Bangladesh part of the forest is expected to begin in the first week of February.
About sixty per cent of the forest is located in Bangladesh and the rest in West Bengal.
The census is expected to cover the entire forest area and provide the first consolidated figure on the Royal Bengal Tiger.
In 2002 the two sides agreed to share knowledge and techniques to protect Sundarban from further destruction and decided to conduct a joint census of tigers.
A UNDP media release last night confirmed the launch of the census. It termed the joint census a “historic milestone in cross-border collaboration to protect the globally significant bio-diversity” of Sundarban.
According to the media release, national attempts to count the number of Royal Bengal Tigers in Sundarban, a World Heritage Site, have been undertaken before using satellite images and a method, called “sampling”, where tigers are counted in particular habitats.
However, a method, which involves collecting impressions of tigers’ footprints left in the mangrove mud during low tide, has proved to be the most accurate and will be applied during the census. From the footprints scientists can ascertain the age, weight and gender of an animal.
As part of the process, six forest department officials travelled to West Bengal earlier this week to join their Indian counterparts, in order to outline the preparatory measures for the census.
The officials will train about 200 forest officials on how to trap stray tigers and relocate them in the forest as part of the UNDP programme.
Environment and Forest Minister Shajahan Siraj has recently told New Age that he is optimistic about the census.
West Bengal Environment Minister Jogesh Burman told the Indian media last month that a concrete result could be obtained with the census “which is important for measuring the nature of steps to be taken in future for conservation of tigers”.
“The census will help us take fruitful initiatives for the conservation of the forest,” he said, adding that about 360 tigers were there in the Indian part of the forest during the last census, conducted few years ago.
During the census, the local communities living in and around the forest area will be consulted for first-hand knowledge about the habits of tigers in the areas where they live, said the UNDP media release.
Also, to further preserve the dwindling tiger population these communities will receive training on rehabilitation of “stray tigers”.
“As a safety precaution villagers generally kill tigers that wander too close to their settlements. We estimate that five to six stray tigers are killed by villagers in Bangladesh each year,” said Aminul Islam, a programme officer of the UNDP.
Relocating tigers with the help of local communities has proven very effective in India, where villagers now alert the forest department of potentially troublesome animals, he added.

From: Zakir Kibria

LATIN AMERICA
Brazil

SHRIMP FARMING:/Antidumping-Chapeco.doc
NOTE: This is not an official document.

From: Brazil, Wednesday, January 7th 2004

Subject: Meeting will define Brazilian government position against U.S. shrimpers for anti-dumping petition.

Brazil’s Special Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture (SEAP/PR), Mr. Jose Fritsch, is planning to hold a meetting next Monday, January 10, at 10 am in Brasilia to discuss possible alternatives to support his country’s position aggainst U.S. Southern shrimpers that entered a petiton against Brazil and another 5 farm-raised shrimp producer countries. Others expected to participate at the meeting are representatives from the Brazilian Shrimp Farmers Association (ABCC), from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Itamarati), from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and from the Ministry of Finances.

One of the possible strategies to denigrate the action of the U.S. shrimpers is to demonstrate that Brazil does’t give any kind of subsidy to its farm-raised shrimp production. Secretary Fritsch asked for an apointment with the US Ambassador for Brazil, Mrs Donna Hrinak, for next week.

U.S. fishermen are working at least in three diferent ways, using the allegation that Brazil’s competitivity is due to a series of benefits that the national government offers and they harm the international free trade agrrements. U.S. shrimpers are submitting their petition to the Department of Commerce, to the Department of Justice, and to the International Trade Commission. If they win, they are willing to be benefited by the 301 Super Act, that overlaps any international agrrement to protect U.S. domestic interests. Brazilian government is alert to the maneuvers of the U.S. shrimp producers in relation to Brazilian producers’ facilities for shrimp exports.

The U.S. is the destination of 45% of the exported Brazilian shrimp that have an annual production of 90 thousand tonnes, and exports more than 65 thousand tonnes, attaining the highest productivity rate: almost 6 tonnes/hectare/year.

“When the U.S. producers lose competitivity they call for dumping”, says the Sub-Secretary of Planning of Aquaculture and Fisheries from SEAP/PR, Mr Gerson Teixeira. For him, “the truth is that Brazil shrimp, as the same as for agriculture, presents high performance and it’s producers are not benefited by any subsidies”. Climate, technology, and investments contribute to the high Brazilian production performance.

From: Dr. Yara Schaeffer-Novellinovelliy@usp.br

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Shrimp Farm Worker Dies of Chemical Poisoning

In Itaiaba, Brasil, a product used in crustacean culture may have killed a worker
Two workers in a prawn/shrimp farm in Itaiaba (Cear�) had serious respiratory problems. One of them died in January. The other has been in a Messejana (Cear�) hospital for 15 days. The Regional Labour Station has called crustacean breeders from all over the state of Cear� to discuss disease prevention in nurseries. A product used to preserve prawns/shrimps releases a gas that can lead to death.
ITAI,ABA
Source: DRT Pulished by zonacosteira@yahoo.com.br
Sent by Soraya Vanini terramar@fortalnet.com.br
arriba Prawn/shrimp nursery is embargoed by IBAMA (Brazilian Institute
of the Environment and Natural Renewable Resource; i.e. Brazilian EPA) in Tamandar
IBAMA embargoed yesterday the construction works of a prawn/shrimp farm next to the Environmental Protection Area (APA) of Costa dos Corais in Tamandar [M�s informaci—n toma de Jornal del Comercio 13/12/03]
President of the Brazilian Supreme Court of Justice denies IBAMA request to stop prawn/shrimp farming
Although provisional, the decision that authorizes Aquafer Aquacultura Fernando Ltda., from the state of Para’ba, to build a prawn farming project has been maintained. The President of the Supreme Court of Justice (STJ), minister Nilson Naves, denied IBAMA’s request to suspend the concession given to Aquafer. [M�s informaci—n]

From: Jeremy Bristow

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Ecuador

Ecuador establishes National Ramsar Committee

The Secretariat is pleased to announce that the Government of Ecuador has officially established its National Ramsar Committee by presidential decree No 1152 published on December 23, 2003. The Committee will work closely with the Environment Ministry and will be the highest political body assisting the planning and coordination of activities related to the application of the Ramsar Convention in Ecuador. This good news adds to the recent creation of the National Wetlands Committee in Brazil in October 2003.

The Committee includes the following members:
* The Environment Minister or his/her delegate, acting as chair
* A delegate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
* A delegate of the National Council of Water Resources
* A delegate of the Coastal Resources Management Program
* A representative of the tour regional Ramsar Committee (to be established in the different regions of the country)
* The President of the Ecuadorian Committee for the Defense of Nature and the Environment (CEDENMA)
* A representative of the business sector, designated by the National Aquaculture Chamber
* A representative of the National Coordinator for the Defense of Mangrove
* A representative of the National Council of Higher Education (CONESUP)
* The national STRP Focal point for Ecuador
* The government and NGO CEPA focal points for Ecuador
* The national delegates to the Wetlands International Council
* The Director of Biodiversity and Protected Areas of the Environment Ministry, acting as secretary.

The Committee has the competence to assist the Environment Ministry and other State institutions regarding the application of the Ramsar Convention, as well as furthering and assessing the application of the Strategic Plan and the COP resolutions. It is also given the mandate to assist in the development of national wetland policies; give recommendations regarding possible new Ramsar sites in Ecuador; review and assess project proposals regarding wetlands and requiring the endorsement of the Environment Ministry; and assist the latter in the revision of the national report and the national position before the Conferences of Parties.

The Committee will meet ordinarily every six months, or extraordinarily by appointment of the president or request by at least three of its members.

More information regarding the Committee can be obtained by contacting Sergio Lasso, national focal point for Ramsar in Ecuador:slasso@ambiente.gov.ec.

From: PECK Dwight – Ramsar
———-

Panama

Country: The Republic of Panama
Date: From January 31 to February 01, 2004.
Place: Alto de Piedra College, Santa Fe District, Veraguas Province.
Organizations involved: GITEC, Panama Verde, ODESCA.
Sponsors and collaborations: Fundacion Natura, Panama Verde, Ramsar, Cathalac, ANAM.

Activity: The Water Pathway, celebration of the World Wetland Day 2004.

Abstract:

Because of celebration in 2004, of the World Wetlands Day promoted by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which had been titled “From the Mountains to the Sea”, the local environmental groups: GITEC, Panama Verde and ODESCA, have according to develop of a joint activity with young people, from Colleges into the Santa Maria River Watershed perimeter. It is the most important watershed in central Panama, due to the community water supplies, agricultural, industrial and recreational activities, all these related with the watershed status.

General objective:

To promote the World Wetlands Day 2004, for the present and future conservation of the Panama”s Watersheds.

Specific objectives:

1- To motivate young people in the vital importance, of the Santa Maria River Watershed and their core participation to the local community development.
2- To build capacity about the importance of management and landscape planning to watershed level.
3- To build capacity about the good practices in management of biodiversity and the water resources into the Santa Maria River Watershed.

Participants:

Colleges students from sites like: Alto de Piedra, Atalaya, Santa Maria, Parita and Sona.

From: Eric Flores, GITEC Panam�
gitec15@hotmail.com

STORIES/ISSUES
In Quest Of Sustainable Sustainability Criteria

The ACC (sustainability) standards need to be broadly exposed as meaningless as any kind of certification of good stewardship in managing wetland impacts as they are currently written and apparently applied.
Robin Lewis, Mangrove Ecologist

Major Flaws in the Aquaculture Certification Council Standards

1. For each criterion by which assessments are made, there is remarkably little detail. For example, no wild post-larvae are allowed but the sourcing of (wild) hatchery broodstock is not addressed (granted, future certification of hatcheries is planned). We have not found any more detailed guidelines on certain aspects such as pond design, shrimp health management, chemical use and these could benefit from specific inclusion (though recognising the variety of shrimp production methods).

2. The standards rely on compliance with government regulations (for example with planning/monitoring of site selection, use of chemicals, species selection etc) and I think it is fair to say that these regulations are, in many producer countries, weak or absent (or poorly enforced) and this is a key concern with the standards.

3. The standards are not clear about past indiscretions – for example, can farms that in the recent past caused abuses be certified?

4. Although the standards state that new farms must cut no mangroves (apart from small areas for pumping stations to be replenished 3-fold), there is no indication of whether or not existing farms in mangrove areas will be submitted to this standard. Furthermore, mangroves can be difficult to replant and there may be some difficulty in restoring their natural functions (in terms of wildlife habitat and ecological functions) – what happens if replanting efforts fail?

5. We have further concerns that other ecologically sensitive areas (such as grasslands, saltmarshes) as well as agricultural land that may be affected by farming are not dealt with at all.

6. The use of farm level EIAs is not considered which is a fundamental flaw and one that should be remedied. It should also be noted that a farm level EIA is by no means as useful as a sector level impact assessment and that therefore, potentially there could be certification for a number of farms that individually are not causing measurable problems but that collectively are adversely affecting the environment.

7. Feed (which is a key environmental concern because of the potentially inefficient use of local fish stocks that provide livelihood and food security in some shrimp farming nations) is not covered at all and this represents quite a significant problem with the standards. Feed mills will be included in the future, but no timeline for this or information as to what basis they will be certified (possibly for criteria that have nothing to do with environmental concerns?).

8. Labour standards are included but again rely on national legislation which could be woefully lacking. Interviews with workers is creditable but from experience it is often impossible for staff to make any complaints against the factory and there is no specific mention of child labour which we assume indicates a reliance entirely on national legislation, which, as we all know is often poorly enforced. Admittedly, these are complicated issues and sadly, not unique to prawn production.

9. Resource rights for local communities are covered and we welcome the fact that certifiers will conduct interviews with local people, though with the obvious caveat that many of the NGOs that we work with see the almost ubiquitous cowing of communities by powerful shrimp farm interests. Again, it’s a hard issue to tackle and immediately remedy but does highlight the need for a mechanism – away from the locality – into which community concerns can be addressed. I think that certification for an international marketplace can, in this way, play a useful role in getting national complaints out to an international body. The fear of recrimination may in this way be reduced.

10. There appears to be no mechanism by which certified farms are assessed for compliance or a way in which civil society can have input into the certification process (or if there was a transparent process in developing the standards in the first place to give credibility to the process). NGOs, community groups and others ought to be able to report their own findings to the ACC in a transparent, public process (as is now commonplace in the Forest Stewardship Council that oversees certification of timber operations). Certification of farms should be reviewed and revoked where appropriate. Although the ACC is now ostensibly independent of the GAA, there are concerns that it remains a predominantly industry-led initiative rather than a third party certification process in the true sense.

11. A final thought is that there is nothing to reward/ influence a more equitable sharing of the economic benefits of shrimp farming. One of our concerns has been that in some localities where shrimp farming has been undertaken for several years (such as Muisne in Ecuador), few tangible benefits have been conferred to local communities (in the form of improved sanitation, medical care, educational facilities etc). Given that some shrimp farms are being very progressive in benefit sharing it would be helpful if this aspect could be further developed and recognition given in some way in the marketplace (somewhat akin to the Fairtrade label).

From Environmental Justice Foundation
mike.shanahan@ejfoundation.org

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Statement of the SEA Fish Network for Justice against WTO in India

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2004 17:30:37 +0700

WORLD SOCIAL FORUM � ALL SMALL FISHERFOLK CONSULTATION AGAINST WTO

Mumbai, India

Statement of the SEA Fish Network for Justice

The priorities in Southeast Asian fisheries should be sustainability, domestic food security and the economic development of local producers, especially the small, artisanal fisherfolk and their communities in the region.

Free trade threatens sustainability

Free trade tends to maximize production, thereby threatening the sustainability of a biological resource like fish. Increasing fisheries exports due to free trade lead to overfishing and over-exploitation of the resource base, especially in open access situations that are dominant in Southeast Asian countries.

Increasing fisheries exports eventually result in resource depletion and the decrease in supply. As prices increase due to decreasing supply, trade flows towards wealthy consumers in developed countries, making fisheries exports unaffordable and inaccessible to local populations. On the other hand, unrestricted fisheries importation leads to economic losses in local fishery sectors due to the influx of heavily subsidized and, therefore, cheaper fishery products. As a result, the food security of local populations suffers.

The proposed fisheries trade prescriptions in the World Trade Organization (WTO) do not address the issues of sustainability and domestic food security. They are based on a neo-liberal paradigm that ignores the huge environmental and social costs of unbridled market production.

Moreover, existing WTO trade rules fail to take into account the huge differences in the level of economic development among nations. These rules open up markets while dislocating millions of producers who belong to least mobile sectors in the developing countries. These are unfair trade rules that have been rigged in favor of economically powerful countries.

Sustainability through effective fisheries management

Nevertheless, fisheries trade can be consistent with sustainability. For this to happen, trade should be regulated in accordance with the precautionary approach in fisheries production, which means controlled production based on the maximum sustainable yield and the carrying capacity of the resources (i.e., sustainable fisheries production). An effective fisheries management system must be put in place that will ensure sustainable fisheries production.

At the same time, trade can be a vehicle for the economic development of the small fisherfolk and their communities, rather than a means for their economic dislocation. The right balance between the food security of the small fisherfolk and their economic progress must be found.

The importance of community property rights

Still, sustainability, domestic food security and economic development can be attained only if the open access situation in fisheries is itself resolved and the question of property rights is addressed. Fisheries management is most effective and efficient if it is community-based. The food security and economic development of the small fisherfolk and their communities can be ensured only if they collectively control the fishery resources that they use and depend on for their livelihood—that is, only if they have community ownership of the fishery resources.

Trade restrictions do not by themselves ensure the sustainable use of the fishery resources. Effective fisheries management does. Nevertheless, non-tariff trade regulations such as eco-labeling of fishery products can be an effective disincentive to production methods that seek to maximize production at the expense of the environment and local communities. Also, trade itself does not ensure economic development of the small fisherfolk. Community property rights and equitable trade do.

Our call

We oppose the unfair fisheries trade prescriptions of the WTO. We will work for effective community-based fisheries management and link trade with sustainable fisheries production. We will work for community property rights and equitable trade rules that will ensure both domestic food security and the economic development of the small fisherfolk and their communities in Southeast Asia .

Please contact for further details:

Bonifacio Federizo and Pablo Rosales, Kilusang Mangingisda/Fisherfolk Movement-Philippines (South-East Asia Fishs Network for Justice Convenor) at e-mail address

From:
ANNOUNCEMENTS
The next UNU-UNESCO programme on biodiversity of mangrove ecosystems will be conducted during April 5-19, 2004.

Please take a minute to visit the new website for the course.

Kindly help a suitable candidate to apply for the course.
K. Kathiresan, Professor
CAS in Marine Biology
Annamalai University
E-mail cdl_aucasmb@sancharnet.in  (off.)

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Feathers, Flyways and Friends Program” (FFFP)

An excellent new website “Feathers, Flyways and Friends Program” (FFFP)
being developed by The Wetlands Centre, Australia, is now open for peer review. The Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage has funded this project to help fulfill Australia’s obligations under the Asia-Pacific
Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 2001-2005.

The website will build on the work already achieved by key shorebird organizations and continue to promote shorebird conservation and community education and public awareness in the East-Asian Australasian
Flyway.

Please send your review suggestions to Helen Aitchison CHRISTINE.PRIETTO@det.nsw.edu.au

Dr. Taej Mundkur
Coordinator, Asia-Pacific Waterbird Strategy Coordination Unit Wetlands

From: HAILS Sandra – Ramsar hails@ramsar.org

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“Earth Talk” Environmental Sustainability Discussion Community to Be Launched

January 18, 2004
Contact: Glen Barry, Ph.D.
President, Forests.org, Inc. and Ecological Internet, Inc.
+1 (608) 213 9224 | gbarry@forests.org

Madison, Wisconsin – A new and innovative environmental advocacy
discussion community and learning network called “Earth Talk” is to debut next week. The site, which is already ready for use, seeks to contribute to global ecological sustainability by enabling communication connections between those working on behalf of forests, water and climate. Environmentalists interested in these important issues are urged to join in the discussion and soon, in order to effectively launch the site.

Dr. Barry urges “all committed environmental advocates to join in the discussion at Earth Talk. The quest for ecological sustainability is the greatest challenge of our time. Working together, perhaps we can will sustainability, equity and justice into being before the Earth and human civilization passes away”.

Earth Talk is the latest offering from Forests.org, Inc. and has
been developed in conjunction with Ecological Internet, Inc., an information technology consultancy. The site makes use of the latest threaded discussion board technologies to facilitate information exchange, including asking questions, sharing ideas, and learning and working together.

From: “Glen Barry”

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
The East Asian Seas Congress 2003
Biodiversity Workshop Report
Prepared by UNDP-GEF Regional Coordination Unit Asia and the Pacific

Context
Biodiversity management is a key to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA). Biodiversity is a critical component of the SDS-SEA that includes; ‘Sustain’ the use of coastal and marine resources, ‘Preserve’ species and coastal areas, ‘Protect’ ecosystems, ‘Develop’ economic activities while safeguarding ecological values, ‘Implement’ international instruments relevant to marine environment, and ‘Communicate’ to raise public awareness. The SDS-SEA includes specific action programmes to address biodiversity including a) implement policy and a strategic framework for the conservation and management of biodiversity, restore coastlines, habitats, and resources which are of significant biodiversity and natural value, b) Select, prioritize, and establish appropriate management regimes for marine protected areas and particularly sensitive sea areas of trans-boundary significance, c) safeguarding of rare, threatened and endangered species and genetic resources through establishing and implementing regional accord and national recovery management process. The SDS-SEA also has action programs for regional cooperation in integrated implementation of international instruments, and emphasizes the importance of monitoring and evaluating results.

Biodiversity conservation is of particular importance to the Seas of East Asia, given the globally significant diversity and abundance of marine and coastal flora and fauna. Thirty percent of world’s coral reefs, 33% of world’s mangroves, 80% of world’s aquaculture products, and 40% of world seagrasses are found in this region. Over 150 species of waterbirds can be found including 21 globally threatened species.

Despite various conservation efforts, biodiversity in the region faces great threats, such as coral degradation, overfishing, etc. Coral reefs are destroyed through destructive fishing practices, sedimentation and pollution from land, invasive species, climate changes, and coral extraction. Over 80% of the reefs in South East Asia are at risk. Mangroves, seagrass beds, and wetlands are lost due to conversion to aquaculture and agricultural land, pollution from urban development and human settlements, over harvesting, and destructive fishing practices. Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems in the Seas of East Asia will significantly affect the sustainable development of the region, where 50 million people are dependent on fisheries for the major portion of their livelihood.

For More Information Contact “Wetlands International – Thailand Programme”

CALL FOR PAPERS
The Call for Presentations deadline for the 2nd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration is quickly approaching!

The 2nd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration will be held September 12-15, in Seattle, Washington. Restore America’s Estuaries will host the conference, to be held at the Washington Convention and Trade Center and Grand Hyatt Seattle. This is the premiere nationwide forum focused solely on advancing the knowledge, pace, practice and success of coastal and estuarine habitat restoration. Incorporating the non-profit, government, business, tribes and academic sectors, the Conference will enable networking and communication throughout this growing movement.

Visit our website for more conference information and the full “Call for Presentations and Posters.”

The deadline for presentation proposals is February 2, 2004, and March 1, 2004 for poster submissions.

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
Please contact Steve Emmett-Mattox at Restore America’s Estuaries, sem@estuaries.org, 703-524-0248.

From: nmaylett@estuaries.org

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XI World Congress of Rural Sociology
Trondheim, Norway
July 25-30, 2004
Call for Papers

Proposals for papers related to all aspects of the conference theme are now being invited. Abstracts should be submitted electronically. Poster presentations are also encouraged and proposals should be submitted in the same manner. Full details on abstract submission are provided below. The deadline for the receipt of abstracts is 12th February 2004, with full papers due by 1 May 2004.
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT

1. Select an appropriate Working Group for your paper.
2. Prepare your abstract as unformatted text. Abstracts should be limited to 250 words.
3. Submit your abstract via the IRSA electronic abstract submission web application.
4. Abstracts will be reviewed by the relevant Working Group members who will contact you in due course to inform you if your abstract has been accepted.
5. Full papers of abstracts accepted for the conference should be sent to Working Group Chairs by the 1st May 2004.

General inquiries regarding abstract submission should be directed to the Deputy Programme Chair, Lynda Herbert-Cheshire. Further information on working groups may be obtained from the relevant Working Group Chairs.

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Breaking news, 8th January:

Science: Scottish Farmed Salmon the Most Contaminated in the World – “Consumption advice is that no more than one meal every four months should be consumed in order to avoid an increased risk of cancer”

Full details and press release from The Salmon Farm Protest Group now online at: www.salmonfarmmonitor.org

From: “Don Staniford” don_staniford@hotmail.com

————————————-

The Science paper can be downloaded (4 page PDF).

More information can be found on The Salmon Farm Monitor:
www.salmonfarmmonitor.org

The Herald, 9th January

New warning over poisons in farmed salmon

DAMIEN HENDERSON

SCOTTISH farmed salmon is so full of pollutant chemicals that it should be
eaten no more than three times a year, American researchers have claimed.
In the largest study of its kind to date, 14 potentially carcinogenic chemicals have been found in significantly higher levels in farmed salmon than in fish caught in the wild.
Of the world’s three salmon producing regions, north Europe fared worst from
the study, followed by North America.
Scottish farmed salmon ranked bottom, alongside farmed salmon from the Faroe
Islands. It was found to be four times more contaminated than Chilean salmon
and up to 30 times worse than some wild Alaskan salmon. Researchers at the University at Albany in New York found high levels of PCBs, dioxins, toxaphene and dieldrin in farmed salmon.

The chemicals, known as organochlorines, stem from industrial pollution and accumulate in the fatty tissue of fish which is used as feed at fish farms. Environmentalists said th e report, published in today’s Science journal,
showed the need for proper labelling of salmon in supermarkets so that consumers could tell its origins and whether it was farmed or wild. But it was immediately denounced by Scottish Quality Salmon, which
represents the bulk of the �300m Scottish salmon industry, as “deliberately misleading”.

It said the health benefits of omega-3 essential fatty acids found in salmon
outweighed the risk of PCBs and dioxins, which were being reduced by using
feed from less contaminated areas.
Dr John Webster, a technical adviser at SQS, said the scientists’ use of US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) risk-assessment guidelines was “an obvious attempt to stir anti-fish farming headlines”. He said: “PCB and dioxin levels in Scottish salmon are significantly lower than the thresholds set by international watchdogs such as the EU, the Food Standards Agency, or even the US FDA (Food and Drugs Agency).”

But Dr Jeffery Foran, an expe rt in toxicology and one of the report’s authors, defended the use of EPA guidelines, which he said were the only ones to take account of modern scientific understanding. He said: “The FDA guidelines were developed 15 to 30 years ago and not
updated since. They are not health based. They were developed to include a variety of factors, including the economic impact of food advice.”

The study was based on 700 samples of salmon — about two tonnes of fish
purchased at supermarkets and wholesalers in Europe and North America. Based on EPA guidelines, the researchers recommended that only a half to one meal of farmed salmon bought from supermarkets in London and Edinburgh should be eaten per month to avoid “unacceptable” cancer risks. For Scottish farmed salmon, the safe limit was found to be one meal every four months.
However, the study warns that health risks other than cancer, including neurological damage and immune system effects, were not accounted for and may occur at lower consumption levels.

Dan Barlow, head of research at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said the report showed that the levels of contamination in Scottish farmed salmon may outweigh the benefits of eating fish. He added: “This report underlines the urgent need to eliminate all forms of
toxic pollution and for much clearer labelling of farmed fish.”

Don Staniford, spokesman for the Salmon Farm Protest Group, said the report should give added urgency to the European Commission’s guidelines on PCB and dioxin contamination in food, due to be published later this year. However, a spokeswoman for the FSA Scotland said the levels of dioxins and PCBs were within “internationally recognised safety limits” and that it would not be revising its advice.

THE HERALD

From: “Don Staniford” don_staniford@hotmail.com

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NY TIMES

January 9, 2004

Farmed Salmon Have More Contaminants Than Wild Ones, Study Finds

By GINA KOLATA

new study of fillets from 700 salmon, wild and farmed, finds that the farmed fish consistently have more PCB’s and other contaminants, but at levels far below the limits set by the federal government.

The study, the largest so far to look at contaminants in salmon, is being published today in the journal Science. It found more than a sevenfold difference in PCB levels, with farmed salmon having an average of 36.63 parts per billion and wild salmon having 4.75.

The authors advised people to limit their consumption of salmon. “Although the risk/benefit computation is complicated,” they wrote, “consumption of farmed Atlantic salmon may pose risks that detract from the beneficial effects of fish consumption.”

Dr. Barbara Knuth, a study author who is chairwoman of the department of natural resources at Cornell University, said, “It indicates that the vast majority of farm-raised Atlantic salmon should be consumed at one meal or less per month.”

More than 90 percent of the fresh salmon eaten in this country is farmed, and sales have been growing by 10 percent to 20 percent a year, said Alex Trent, executive director of Salmon of the Americas, an industry group.

Officials of the Food and Drug Administration disputed the study’s recommendations.

“We certainly don’t think there’s a public health concern here,” said Dr.. Terry Troxell, director of the agency’s office of plant and dairy foods and beverages. “Our advice to consumers is not to alter their consumption of farmed or wild salmon.”

The agency’s tolerance level for PCB’s in salmon is 2000 parts per billion, which is nearly 55 times the level found in the farmed fish. The Environmental Protection Agency has a lower level for fish caught in sport fishing, but defers to the F.D.A. when it comes to setting levels for commercial fish.

Dr. Troxell said most contaminants were found in the skin of the fish and the fat just beneath it.

“Most people aren’t eating the skin,” he said. “And when salmon is cooked, you lose a considerable amount of fat, and so the levels go down quite a bit.”

While the new study involved contaminants in raw fillets, including skin, Dr. Troxell said even the levels in raw salmon were not worrisome.

PCB’s, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are a family of chemical compounds that were banned in the 1970′s. The environmental agency says they are a probable carcinogen, though that has never been proved in humans. They were once used as coolants and lubricants and to make products like plastics and paints.

The other contaminants measured in the study include dioxins � formed, for example, when chlorine-containing chemicals, like plastics, are burned � and two banned pesticides, toxaphene and dieldrin.

The salmon in the study, obtained from wholesalers and supermarkets in Europe and in North and South America, acquired the contaminants from their food. Farmed Atlantic salmon eat fish meal and oil from fish with higher levels of contaminants like PCB’s….

From: Lynn Hunter hunterlynn@shaw.ca

————————————-

Science press up-dates n Farmed Salmon (9th January):

For further up-dated information on the Science study see The Salmon Farm Monitor: www.salmonfarmmonitor.org

Further press information can be found via the Institute for Health and the Environment

Includes:

The Science paper - “Global Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Farmed Salmon”

“Salmon meals per month recommendations”

Frequently asked questions about the Science study”

Please find enclosed the following press coverage on the recent Science publication:

“Only eat salmon three times a year” (The Daily Mail, 9th January)

“Warning! Eating salmon can seriously damage your health: farmed salmon linked to cancer risk – scientists warn against eating more than one portion every 8 weeks” (The Times, 9th January)

“Scottish farmed salmon is ‘full of cancer toxins’” (The Daily Telegraph, 9th January)

“Cancer warning over Scottish farmed salmon” (The Guardian, 9th January)

“Toxins cited in farmed salmon – cancer risk is lower in wild fish, study reports” (The Washington Post, 9th January)

“Wild healthier than farmed” (CBS News, 9th January)

Includes a video clip: “We are certainly not telling people not to eat fish….We’re telling them to eat less farmed salmon” (Dr David Carpenter, University at Albany, N.Y – co-author of the Science study)

CBSNEWS

Other press links enclosed include New Scientist, Reuters, BBC News, The New York Times, Reuters, USA Today, ABC News, The Herald, The Seattle Times, The Seattle Post Intelligencer, CBC News, The Scotsman, The Oregonian and The London Evening Standard (for up-dated links to news articles see The Salmon Farm Monitor’s media and press archive: www.salmonfarmmonitor.org )

From: “Don Staniford” don_staniford@hotmail.com

————————————-

The Guardian (Leader), 10th January

Fishy explanation

Leader
Saturday January 10, 2004
The Guardian

If consumers are confused, they have every right to be. In the last decade following the BSE health scare, many increased their consumption of fish and drastically cut down on beef. The move was reinforced by medical advice that eating fish twice a week provides healthy protein, a good supply of vitamin D and, in the case of oily fish like salmon, a rich supply of omega-3 fatty acids that help prevent high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. But now, after the most comprehensive study of its kind, American scientists have advised consumers that farmed salmon contains high concentrations of 14 pollutants which could cause cancer.

The scientists looked at 700 salmon from eight regions of the world and found Scottish farmed salmon – along with Faroe Island salmon – the most polluted. The contamination by carcinogenic chemicals was so concentrated that they recommended Scottish farmed salmon should only be eaten once every two months. A higher frequency ran the risk of increasing cancer by at least one case in 100,000. Predictably, other scientists on both sides of the Atlantic have disagreed, suggesting that the levels of dangerous dioxins and PCBs were within the safety levels set by the World Health Organisation, the European commission and the US Food and Drug administration.

The rise of farmed salmon has been phenomenal. Production in Scotland has risen from 600 tonnes in 1980 to 150,000 today. Scotland’s has become the third largest salmon farming industry in the world, with over 325 farms. The fish has moved from being one of the most expensive to one of the cheapest on the fish counter, selling at �1.40 per lb, one fifth of the cost of wild salmon. It has helped generate more than 6,500 jobs in remote areas in desperate need of work.

But too many salmon farmers have fallen into the same trap as earlier factory farmers: concentrating on quantity at the expense of quality. Over-industrialised production produced a fish that required dyes to achieve the pink flesh of its wild neighbour. As the oceans become fished out, fish farming is bound to grow. The authors of the report sensibly suggest feeds should contain less fish and more plant-based material. The carcinogenic chemicals are believed to come from wild fish, caught on the bottom of the polluted North Atlantic, and then ground into fishmeal for the salmon. Current world safety limits also need to be reviewed. The advice from the US Environmental Protection Agency is much stricter than other agencies.

GUARDIAN

From: “Don Staniford” don_staniford@hotmail.com

————————————-

Scottish Farmed Salmon Industry Sent Reeling

The Scottish farmed salmon industry appears to be particularly hard hit by the PCB report in Science, since the UK consumers are hypersensitive to food scares. Some supermarkets reported dropping their salmon prices 33% to 50% over the weekend.

AROUND THE CORNER
Farmed Salmon, Pro and Con

January 17, 2004, New York Times

No sooner had we started fretting about the risk of mad cow disease in our hamburgers than a new report indicated that the salmon raised on fish farms were laced with far more
toxic chemicals than their wild brethren. Just what this may mean for human health is murky, given that the risk appears to be small and the health benefits of eating salmon, whether farm-raised or caught in the wild, are
thought to be considerable. But the message to fish farmers, the dominant suppliers of salmon in this country, was unmistakably clear: stop feeding your penned-up salmon
the fish meal that seems to be causing the problem.

The bad tidings about farmed salmon came via a scientific report published this week in the journal Science. The researchers sampled some 700 salmon from around the world
and found that concentrations of organochlorine chemicals were far higher in farmed salmon than in salmon caught in
the wild. They also found marked geographical differences; farmed salmon from Europe was more contaminated than farmed
salmon from North or South America. These differences can be traced to feeding the salmon ground-up smaller fish that
have themselves been contaminated with toxic chemicals from polluted ocean waters.

Focusing on PCB’s, toxaphene and dieldrin in particular, the researchers suggested that consumers should probably limit themselves to one meal of farmed salmon per month.
They reached that conclusion by applying a formula developed by the Environmental Protection Agency to estimate the cumulative impact of ingesting several chemicals at once. But this looks like a case where risk estimation has outrun common sense.

The one-meal-a-month advice seems at odds with the standard recommendation from heart experts that people should eat two fish meals a week, preferably fatty fish like salmon, tuna or mackerel, to help combat cardiovascular disease. What’s more, the contamination levels found in the new
study were well below the tolerance levels for some individual pollutants set by the Food and Drug Administration and must be viewed against the background of a huge drop in recent decades in the amount of PCB’s, dioxins and similar chemicals found in the food supply. Cooking the salmon and trimming off its skin would reduce the contaminant levels significantly.

Those who worry about toxic chemicals, especially pregnant women, may want to pay extra for wild salmon or limit their consumption of farmed salmon, always aware that many other foods contain these same contaminants as well. But those who are more concerned about healthy hearts will see no
reason to give up this tasty source of nutrition.

The real message of this study is that the fish farming industry needs to clean up its feeding materials to reduce the level of contaminants. It would also be desirable for salmon to be labeled clearly to show whether it was farmed
or wild, and where it came from. That would help consumers make wise choices and put pressure on the dirtier parts of the fish farming industry to clean up.

NY TIMES

From Robin Lewis, lesrrl3@aol.com

Late Friday News, 130th Ed., 4 Jan 2004

Dear Friends,

This is the 130th Edition of the Late Friday News. Happy New Year to all of our readers and associates! May 2004 bring us all much success in collectively conserving mangrove forests and their associated coastal ecosystems, while supporting the local coastal communities in their struggle for sustainable community-based, coastal resource management.! And may this new year bring us peace on earth and good will to all!

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,

Mangrove Action Project

“Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves in the long and bitter, but beautiful struggle for a new world….” –Martin Luther King

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 130th Edition, 4 January 2004
FEATURE STORY
Why Shrimp Farms and Shorebirds Don’t Mix

MAP WORKS
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves
MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand
MAP Volunteer Work Study Tour Yucatan Peninsula
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

AFRICA
Nigeria
New Year’s Resolution For Niger Delta Needed

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand
Student eyes indoor shrimp farming
Govt orders fish farms to register
EDITORIAL: Let prawn farmers sink or swim
Shrimp exporters voicing concerns
PM backs trading prawns for planes
Thaksin threatens to freeze trade deals

Indonesia
Behind the BP Tangguh Project Propaganda

Vietnam
Asian Shrimp Exporters to Fight U.S. Suit
Local livelihoods threaten Xuan Thuy National Park

S. ASIA
Bangladesh
Extortionists pushing Rupsha shrimp plants towards ‘closure’
Bangladesh can earn $1.5b from shrimp export: US envoy
Indian pirates kidnap 10 Bangladeshis from Sundarbans

Pakistan
Pakistan, India urged to solve fishermen’s problems

NORTH AMERICA
USA
US shrimpers to file anti-dumping case
U.S. Shrimp Industry Demands Relief.
ASDA Press Release Concerning Filing of Antidumping Petition on Imported Shrimp

EUROPE
Germany
Organic shrimp production

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
International Conference- Water India 4-

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Ranching in the open ocean

FEATURE STORY
Editor’s Note: The following is a brief but very informative analysis of the many problems facing migratory waders/ shorebirds–problems which we now know are being further exaserbated by shrimp farming in salt flats, apicunas and mud flats. This tact is very important for all of us to now introduce into the argument against further expansion of this wasteful industry. As noted previously, mangroves, mud flats and salt flats are inter-related, and the migratory shorebirds depend on these for their sustenance and stopovers along their long migratory routes.

Why Shrimp Farms and Shorebirds Don’t Mix

The International Wader Study Group (a Specialist Group of Wetlands

International and IUCN-The World Conservation Union’s Species Survival

Commission) has concluded that the majority of populations of waders of known population trend are in decline all around the world, making this issue a matter of international conservation concern. Of populations with

known trends, 48% are declining, in contrast to just 16%, which are increasing. Thus three times as many populations are in decline as are increasing. According to the IWSG the reasons for these declines are diverse and poorly understood.

Although the causes for coastal wetland conversion are indeed diverse we find it surprising that the rapid growth of shrimp farming and on a global scale could not be identified as a significant agent for these population declines. In part this ignorance

comes from the fact that shorebird conservation has no constituencies in the wintering grounds and stopover areas and these areas are too remote for most US researchers to work on. The political strength of the residents of these coastal areas is too weak and they have little say on land use

decision that are made by a politically powerful elite.

As a result valuable resources are being destroyed and vulnerable ecological processes

endangered at a rapid rate while most folks up here think everything is ok because they are investing millions of dollars in domestic conservation actions.

Paradoxically most of this shrimp (subsidized by the fact that it is produced without regard to environmental regulations) and produced on converted coastal lands is exported and purchased in the USA and European markets, countries that by allowing unrestrained importation of shrimp cultured under conditions that subsidize environmental degradation and conversion of coastal wetlands, weaken their own substantial outlays in domestic conservation efforts as well as their international investments in

conservation and fuel further destruction! The conservation problems of aquaculture on wader populations cannot be addressed solely by in-country conservation actions but must be complemented by concurrent actions to

educate shrimp consumers and by imposing trade-related incentives to influence conservation abroad.

Consumer demand is a trade-related incentive that must be explored to mitigate the environmental impacts of aquaculture on wader migrations. A consumer demand reduction in the United States and Europe could have a significant impact on the industry and the governments that support it. Experience shows that consumers can be mobilized around environmental issues related to the production of internationally traded commodities. Shorebirds, because of their “flagship” status could be used to promote shrimp production under more environmentally and socially acceptable conditions if it were made possible to differentiate these products in the market. Ironically, farmed shrimp is now sold in the U.S. as “Turtle” friendly because it is not trawled and does not endanger seaturtles, but consumers are not aware how bird and socially unfriendly these shrimp are.

Obstacles to shorebird conservation in the Western Hemisphere

· Shorebird conservation has been a restricted academic/research pursuit

· Shorebirds lack a broad constituency on their wintering grounds.. Whereas shorebirds have a constituency in the US and Canada, they “are on their own” outside of N. America

· Conservation of shorebirds is not a biological priority for most countries

- Critical wintering or stopover habitats are perceived as “barren, waste lands” suitable for conversion to other uses.

From Gil_Cintron@fws.gov

MAP WORKS
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com

Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

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Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net  for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

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Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project

and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on

2. GROUNDS FOR CHANGE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair Trade Federation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

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Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand

Mangrove Action Project Eco-study tour entitled “SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM : An experiential study of Thailand�s coastal resources and the people who depend on them” is scheduled to take place in Thailand 4-17 July 2004. This program will be lead by Dr. G. Lamar Robert of Chiang Mai University and he can be contacted for further informationcho@chiangmai.ac.th

======

MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being considered for the month of June or July, 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

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John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first of many Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.

Phuket Weather

Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT

partly cloudy 32°C

Humid.: 70 %

(c) asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new

“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure,
contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com  . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

AFRICA
Nigeria

New Year’s Resolution For Niger Delta Needed

The terrible 2003 has gradually come to an end with gas and oil pollution, environmental degredations, deforestation and de-vegetation of our tropical rainforests and mangrove forests, human rights violations with impunity, rural poverty, HIV/AIDS ravaging our populations worsen by governments non-challance towards combating the scourge and other artificial problems confronting us as a people.

The tasks before us in 2004 are enormous and herculean. We need more passion and commitment in 2004 to create a safe and habitable society.

From Cletus B, Kiele,

Niger Delta Project for Environment,

Human Rights and Development (NDPEHRD),

Email; nigerdeltaproject@yahoo.com

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand

THE NATION

Student eyes indoor shrimp farming

Published on Dec 22, 2003

To simplify the shrimp-farming process, a 25-year-old student at Siam University has come up with the idea of automating the whole business via a small computer and new software. Instead of having to dig large outdoor ponds farmers will be able to breed and grow shrimp in 91.5-cm glass tanks.

Chumnaan Kuankanong, the designer, said that since the concept was to move shrimp farming indoors, the idea was to invent a “smart” glass tank that could manage most everyday chores when it came to this sort of automatic farming.

Equipped with a mini-computer holding the relevant software in the tank cover, the system will perform tasks like feeding, changing the water and checking if it is time for farmers to vaccinate the shrimps.

“At the moment we’ve got the feeding sorted out, and we’re working hard on the other remote-controlled aspects, especially letting the farmers know when it’s time to vaccinate the shrimps so they’ll be accepted for export,” Chumnaan said.

Since it is also necessary to regularly change 10 per cent of the water at a time, this will also be done automatically once the system is up and running, hopefully, it seems, before the end of next year. However, one development yet to be started is the detection of the water’s pH balance.

Chumnaan said that when everything was ready, farmers using the process would save on operating costs to the tune of 40 per cent and productivity was also expected to rise. The whole process aims to increase frozen shrimp exports.

Asina Pornwasin

The Nation

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Govt orders fish farms to register

Published on Aug 15, 2003

The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry has ordered fishery businesses to register with it so that it can monitor product quality and safety and improve export competitiveness.

“The ministry hopes that the registration system will help Thailand’s export image and increase the export value of fishery products to Bt100 billion next year from the Bt80 billion to Bt90 billion targeted this year,” Deputy Agriculture Minister Newin Chidchob said yesterday.

Farmers and manufacturers have until the end of September to register with the ministry’s Fishery Department.

Moreover, information from farmers and manufacturers who register will create a database that will help the ministry to systemize the fishery industry for both the export and domestic markets.

Newin said farmers and manufacturers could also use the registration as a loan guarantee.

“Farmers and manufacturers who fail to register will lose business opportunities as exporters refuse to purchase raw material and products without a quality guarantee,” he said.

Farmers and producers have to pay tax, either at the rate of Bt5,000 for every Bt1 million in sales revenue or Bt500 per rai of farm area. However, the Revenue Department said that it would waive the tax for the current year.

Nitis Pattarakulchai, president of the Inland Shrimp Farming Association, said farmers were confused about the fact that they would be required to pay tax after registration, as producers of farm goods are not taxed.

From mapasia@loxinfo.co.th>

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THE NATION

EDITORIAL: Let prawn farmers sink or swim

Published on Nov 29, 2003

The government should not subsidise an unsustainable industry but rather let market mechanisms take their toll

The government is now under pressure to rescue the shrimp and prawn farming industry from falling prices, or face a mass demonstration by southern farmers. The hard truth is that the sector does not deserve any government subsidies. It is time prawn farmers and other people in the business come to terms with market mechanisms. Moreover, they should admit that they have made a fortune during their boom years at the expense of public resources.

It is no exaggeration to say prawn farming is a business of obscene greed. When world market prices for black tiger prawns rose in the early 1990s, tens of thousands of farmers as well as people from cities jumped onto the bandwagon, tearing down coastal mangrove forests for land to farm brackish-water prawns. Within a few years, more than half of the country’s two million rai of mangrove on the eastern and southern coasts, including areas inside national parks, were forever destroyed.

But for many people, mangrove destruction was too small an issue back then when the revenue from prawn exports to Japan and Europe was extremely promising. Thailand rose to replace Taiwan as the world’s major exporter of frozen prawns. The Fisheries Department went ahead to promote prawn aquaculture in all coastal provinces while brushing aside the need to stop farmers from encroaching on mangrove forests. The agency argued that its job is to support prawn farming while mangrove protection was the duty of the Forestry Department.

Nonetheless, failure to take care of the environment is a major reason why prawn farming in Thailand has now lost its competitiveness when compared to such emerging exporters as Vietnam and Central America. Most farm operators simply released polluted water from prawn ponds into the sea after each harvest. What happened after a while was that organic pollution has contaminated entire coastal areas and eventually made its way back to the pond with new water that was pumped in for the next crop.

Naturally, the prawns got infected with various diseases and farm operators needed to spend extra cash for antibiotics and other chemical treatments. Many abandoned their farms altogether and looked for new cleaner sites further inland in rice growing regions. But transportation of salt water to inland paddy fields is a costly operation. And this further created social and environmental problems as salt and rice are natural enemies.

Although the Thai Rak Thai-led administration may be tempted to bail out southern prawn farmers – as this will increase the party’s popularity in the Democrats’ stronghold – it should take into account the rationality of supporting such a notorious industry. The public should also keep an eye on potential cronyism in the government. Commerce Minister Wattana Muangsuk, who has to decide whether the government should subsidise the prawn farmers, is from a family that runs the Charoen Pokphan Group, the largest supplier of prawn feed and necessary chemicals used by the industry.

Last but not least is the decline of prawns raised by aquaculture in Western cuisine as consumers are aware of environmental problems caused by prawn farming. Moreover, they are also warned by health authorities about potential health risks from chemical residues in prawns. Declining demand is another major factor for the continuing fall in market prices.

Government subsidies would only briefly continue the unsustainable business at the expense of taxpayers and public resources. If the government believes in market mechanisms, it should let an uncompetitive business fight for its own survival.

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Shrimp exporters voicing concerns

Published on Dec 9, 2003

The value of shrimp exports could drop by as much as 50 per cent next year due to the possibility of anti-dumping duties in major markets, particularly the US and European Union, Thai farmers and exporters warned yesterday.

“Thailand’s shrimp export industry is facing an uncertain future. It will be hard to achieve the Commerce Ministry’s targeted export value growth of 5 per cent next year,” said Panisuan Jamnarnwej, president of the Thai Frozen Foods Association. He was speaking after a meeting between exporters and Deputy Commerce Minister Pongsak Rattapongpisal on strategies for the food and textile industries.

The export value of the food sector is expected to reach US$7 billion (Bt278 billion) this year, and account for 10 per cent of the country’s total exports.

Panisuan said the total value of Thai shrimp exports grew 10.8 per cent to $738.54 million during the first 10 months this year, accounting for 11.9 per cent of total food exports.

Black tiger shrimp production faced problems due to the low quality of breeding stock.

Fortunately, shrimp farmers turned to breeding imported Chinese white shrimp, which gives a higher yield than black tiger shrimp. The increase in white shrimp production offset losses from the drop in black tiger shrimp output.

“If we had not turned to producing white shrimp, we would have seen export contraction of at least 10 to 15 per cent,” Panisuan said.

Tougher competition from export rivals, particularly Vietnam, Ecuador and Brazil in the US market, are expected to hamper Thai shrimp exports. Ecuador and Brazil have set up processing plants in their countries to facilitate exports to the US.

Moreover, US shrimp importers have set up plants in Vietnam, including one of the leading US brands, which gives that country a grip on the US market.

Panisuan suggested Thailand should export fresh shrimp to Vietnam for processing and export to the US.

In addition, the government and exporters should tap new markets like Russia and negotiate for a larger quota from the EU due to its expansion.

A representative from Thai Shrimp Association said the government should pay more attention to bringing down non-tariff barriers (NTBs) when negotiating free-trade agreements (FTAs).

“Thailand should not ignore the rising problems of NTBs and commitments to reduce import tariffs to zero,” the representative said.

Newin Chidchob, deputy minister of agriculture and cooperatives, said recently at a seminar that the rise of NTBs, such as bio-terrorism and transparency in a product’s origins, was more serious than tariff issues in trade relations. Moreover, Thailand’s shrimp would likely face anti-dumping measures from the US, which is considered unfair to trade.

“Thailand’s shrimp export will be affected by these measures, which are considered unreasonable,” he said.

Pongsak, however, said the fall in shrimp export value would not hit the country’s targeted export value of 80 billion baht next year, an increase of 11-13 per cent.

From: mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

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Bangkok Post Dec.18, 2003

PM backs trading prawns for planes

Amornrat Mahitthirook

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday backed Commerce Minister Wattana Muangsook’s idea of trading prawns for Airbus aircraft.

Thailand would consider purchasing planes from the European Consortium’s rival, Boeing, if it was rejected.

“If we are not fairly treated by the EU, we could change from Airbus to Boeing,” he said. Mr Wattana floated the idea to arrest falling shrimp prices.

Politicians have criticised the European Union for treating shrimp imports unfairly.

It imposes higher tariffs on Thai shrimps than shrimp from some other developing countries.

Thailand plans to buy Airbus aircraft for Thai Airways International and the Royal Thai Air Force.

The prime minister denied the idea was in retaliation for the EU’s high import tax.

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Bangkok Post Dec.20, 2003

Thaksin threatens to freeze trade deals until row settled

Plans to be adjusted ‘until we get fairness’

Bangkok Post and AFP

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday threatened to freeze planned deals between the European Union and Thai state enterprises unless a trade dispute with the bloc is resolved.

Thailand has accused the EU of unfairly discriminating against its seafood on the grounds that it slaps tariffs as high as 12% on the kingdom’s shrimp exports, compared with just 4% levied on neighbouring Malaysia under the Generalised System of Preferences.

“State enterprise purchasing plans will be adjusted until we get fairness. I always chair cabinet meetings and all purchasing plans must be approved by cabinet,” Mr Thaksin said.

On Wednesday, the premier suggested Thailand may cancel plans to buy nine jets from European consortium Airbus and take its business to competing jet manufacturer Boeing if the EU does not bend.

Thailand has also proposed clearing a huge prawn surplus _ a result of falling prawn exports to the EU after a contamination scare _ by trading them for Airbus planes in a barter deal.

A Bangkok-based diplomat with the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said he was surprised by the government’s reaction and charges that the GSP system discriminated against the country. “Even though Thai shrimp exports graduated [from the EU's GSP programme] in 1999, overall exports remain strong,” he said.

“The graduation has not had major impact on Thailand.”

The diplomat said even though Malaysian shrimp exporters continued to enjoy privileges under the GSP system, their market share remained smaller than that for Thai exports.

Thailand exported 2,231 tonnes of fresh and prepared shrimp to Europe in the first nine months, down 47.5% on the same period last year.

In value terms, exports in the first nine months were worth 536.9 million baht, down 72.6% year on year.

“We can show everybody that our scheme applies equally,” the diplomat said.

From:

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Indonesia

.: Jatam.org Versi : Indonesia | English

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Behind the BP Tangguh Project Propaganda

By JATAM, Mining Advocacy Network, October 2003

Bintuni Bay, West Papua, is one of Asia’s largest untapped natural gas fields. BP hopes its Tangguh Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in Bintuni Bay will bolster its place in the Asian-Pacific energy market and make it Indonesia’s largest single foreign investor. Indonesia like several other parts of the developing world is full of energy resources that have attracted mining, oil and gas multinational corporations. These powerful multinationals have been strongly criticized for ignoring the needs of local communities, triggering unrest and resulting in numerous environmental and social impacts where they operate.

Mangroves

Bintuni Bay is home to a 300,000-hectare mangrove ecosystem. The rapid transformation of the Bintuni Bay involves forever changing the largest remaining mangrove reserve in Southeast Asia, and the world’s second largest mangrove ecosystem, home to seven tribal groups and numerous nearby local communities as well as exceptional marine biodiversity characteristic of the Arafura Sea (part of Indo-Australian waters). Bintuni Bay supports an important shrimp export industry while the coastal areas in the Bintuni Bay support 3000 households. The mangrove ecosystem at Bintuni Bay is already under pressure from a woodchip export industry. Interest in the protection of the area led to a proposed Bintuni Bay Nature Reserve, which would protect approximately 267,000 hectares of the ecosystem, 60,000 hectares of which is in the bay. Mangroves in Indonesia are being depleted at an alarming rate; mangroves once lined coastal areas of Java and Sulawesi but are now becoming a rare sight. Bintuni Bay is also slated to become another lost mangrove ecosystem when the transformation from mangrove ecosystem to construction and operation site of the Tangguh LNG project including extraction and processing facilities is completed.

A BP study predicts the following environmental impacts: noise and light pollution; gas emissions including sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide; liquid and solid waste from gas drilling, LNG processing, vehicles and shipping; solid waste including mercury contaminated activated carbon; sanitary waste; port activities may interfere with local fishing and shrimping and transportation between villages; the airport may attract “unauthorised settlement” placing a higher burden on local ecosystem; and bilge water from LNG tankers may introduce exotic species that could alter the ecology of the Bay (Report available ).

Human rights and environmental groups throughout Indonesia and abroad have become increasingly critical towards the Tangguh project. Besides destroying a vast tract of important protected natural reserve, objections and protests are also based on a series of exploitation activities and site clearing, which did not have such a rosy outcome as the company had promised like that written in their periodical bulletins.

For instance, the refinery train sites in Tanah Merah were appropriated at the cost of a fraction of one dollar per square meter. The company has been very aggressive in its ‘community relations’ agenda, and according to members of the local communities, public consultations at times were merely geared towards gaining community consent. BP Tangguh’s 2002 Environmental Impact Assessment experienced controversy when the community highlighted unresolved issues including the destruction of sago forests by the project, the relocation of the LNG plant from Weriagar to Tanah Merah, the possible deaths of 48 children from seismic exploration activities, and land compensation issues.

There are nine indigenous groups in the Berau/Bintuni area that depend on local natural resources like shrimp, fish and sago for their income. The political and legal situation in West Papua does not permit local communities the right to veto projects on their land. The sago trees, which provide a staple food for local people were destroyed during seismic surveys in 1996 and 1997. This destruction of the local people’s food source is a clear violation of the human right to feed oneself.

BP has manipulated the community’s right to information on the impacts of LNG production. The Ecologist reported that all the information available to local villagers in the project area has come either from BP, NGOs paid by BP, or Indonesian government officials, “anyone else who tries to discuss the issue with local people is liable to be arrested.” The remoteness of the site is similar to the situation at the Freeport mine, making it easier for the authorities to control information. This is probably why the tragic death of 48 young children in Weriagar village in 1996 was never widely reported at the time. According to The Ecologist, the babies died shortly after ARCO (BP bought ARCO in 1999), started drilling for gas in the river, the villagers’ only source of water. The villagers wanted to report the deaths to the regional government, “but when troops arrived to protect the site, it was made clear to them that it would be in their interests not to make a fuss.” The residents claimed that test wells drilled by ARCO in 1997 poisoned a river and led to the deaths of 48 babies in the nearby village of Weriagar. BP insists the cause of death was an outbreak of measles and was unrelated to the drilling. BP then set up a trust fund to allow a neutral body from the district’s main town to investigate the claims and arbitrate the dispute. At a ‘conflict resolution’ meeting in 2002 between NGOs, local community representatives, government officials, and BP, an agreement was made to conduct an independent investigation into the deaths. According to one recent report, this process appears to have reached an impasse since the NGO charged with the investigation has no funds and the villagers are unwilling to allow the victims’ bodies to be exhumed for forensic analysis.

On April 15, 2002, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) went through a public provincial hearing and evaluation. Overall, the hearing revealed that there was much lacking in the EIA including the community’s lack of adequate information about the impacts that will result with the Tangguh project and the lack of access of the community to the EIA and supporting documents like the terms of reference, environmental management plan, environmental monitoring plan, among other documents. Based on these aspects, it was made clear during the hearing that the assessment should not gain approval from the Ministry of Environment. Only one document related to the EIA was found in a village in the Aranday Regency while other villages did not receive this document. According to Indonesia’s new regulations regarding EIAs, the community has the right to information regarding a project that will be developed in their area prior to the creation of the EIA. The Manokwari NGO Alliance on Tangguh Advocacy noted discrepancies in BP’s statements regarding community participation. BP has stated that 52 communities from three districts (Manokwari, Fak-Fak and Sorong) were involved in the evaluation of the EIA’s terms of reference. However, the NGO Alliance noted that at a public hearing and evaluation of the EIA’s terms of reference, only nine villages were involved.

Beyond the local and indigenous peoples’ boundaries at Bintuni Bay, a critical issue for the Papuan people will be the likely spatial and social transformation of the northern coastal lands and waters of Papua including the neighbouring “property blocks” of the oil companies. If the Tangguh project were proceeding as the company and government wished, land grabs on a massive scale, suppression of dissenting voices against the project, as well as indiscriminate cutting of the remaining mangrove belts, may well be the three problems of most serious consequences to the local people.

In many ways, the women will be hurt the most by the transformation of their environment. The women in these communities do the crab fishing and thus depend on the mangrove environment. The crab fishing provides not only family income but also the main dietary source of protein. The alteration of the seascape and the surrounding landscape including the predicted rise of surface water temperature in the bay and the slower cycle of drainage due to the installed mesh of pipelines will have significant impacts on the reproductive capacity of key animal species in the area. Upon learning the extent to which the bay area would be changed, a local female leader commented bitterly that “from now on, I will give extra comfort and care to my grandchildren, for in the future they will live in a barren homeland, and I will not be around to ease their pain.”

Repression, tension and conflict

The existence of BP via the Tangguh project has caused opposition in the area. Not long after BP announced its plans for Tangguh, the June 2001 Wasior killings was a message of repression to the local communities. The British Ambassador to Indonesia Richard Gozney visited Tangguh. Surprisingly, Ambassador Gozney stated his approval of military operations in the area. Gozney’s approval for military establishments in the Tangguh area revealed that the British government viewed the success of the Tangguh project as impossible without the existence of the military forces. A number of high military officials and Indonesian national police have often visited the Tangguh project since the set up of the project in the area.

On May 13, 2002, the Saengga community in Babo Regency, Manokwari District, held a demonstration at the BP-Indonesia Base Camp in Saengga Village. This demonstration was an act to show the community’s discontent with the inconsistency of the Manokwari local government in the realization of the agreements made in a workshop held in Saengga from April 24 to 27, 2002. Several important agreements were made concerning land prices, status and use in Saengga and were to be further discussed in Manokwari but no follow-up actions were taken thus sparking the protest by the Saengga community.

Civil society and military forces are not the only opposing forces in the area, there is also tension between those in the local community who oppose the project and newcomers to the area who will work at the Tangguh project and approve of the project. The immigrant work force, which is quite a number to Babo has caused competition between the local work force and the outside work force in getting employment at the project. For example, resentment has resulted in the community where PETROSEA, a company that requires a trained work force in construction engineering and mining, has left out local people in their work force who do not have the required skills.

BP Propaganda Smokescreen

On the Environment

In 2000, BP went so far as to change its corporate symbol from a shield to a sunburst, and for a time, promoted the slogan “Beyond Petroleum.” BP has recently promoted itself as the world’s largest producer of solar energy. BP simply achieved this target by spending $45 million to buy the Solarex solar energy corporation. This amount is a small fraction of the $26.5 billion it spent to buy ARCO and the $110 billion it spent to buy Amoco in order to increase BP’s production capacity for oil. BP spent $100 million on legal/advisor fees for buying ARCO, an amount more than double its solar investment. According to Greenpeace (1999), for every $10,000 BP Amoco spent on oil exploration and development in 1998, $16 was spent on solar energy. Furthermore, BP’s solar subsidiary accounts for only 0.1% of BP’s revenues.

BP has stated that Beyond Petroleum means “being a global leader in producing the cleanest burning fossil fuel: Natural Gas.” Natural gas does emit somewhat less carbon dioxide than oil for the same energy produced. But when fugitive emissions, or leaks, are taken into account, the difference, if any, is very small. As a CorpWatch special report pointed out, “for the climate, natural gas is at best an incremental improvement over oil, and at worst a distraction from the real challenge of moving our societies away from fossil fuels.”

During the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August 2002, a coalition of green groups distributed their version of Oscar awards to companies guilty of ‘greenwash’ – using an environmental cloak to disguise their continued poor practice. BP received the ‘Best Greenwash Actor’ award for a re-branding campaign that has included the adoption of a sunburst/flower-like logo and the slogan ‘Beyond Petroleum.’ According to one group of BP shareholders, BP spent more on their new eco-friendly logo in 2000 than on renewable energy. BP CEO Lord Browne insisted that BP is an industry that “will be dominated by oil and gas for the next 30 to 50 years.”

Greenpeace has launched SANE BP, Shareholders Against New Exploration, a group of BP/Amoco shareholders who are demanding that the company shift their investments away from oil exploration and into renewable energy such as solar and wind. Alaskan natives attended the BP-Amoco shareholders meeting in London in 1999, where they confronted company executives about the devastating impacts of global warming on their environment and traditional lifestyles. Despite the fact that the Arctic is currently warming at a rate three to five times faster than the global average, damaging wildlife and causing alarming rates of glacial melting, BP wants to continue with its Arctic oil exploration plans.

Besides the spreading of propaganda, BP is also recruiting non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as allies. Their focus has been on becoming friends with internationally and nationally recognized NGOs in order to build a false profile of environmental and social accountability in the areas where they operate. BP is currently part of the Energy and Biodiversity Initiative (EBI) initiated in 2001, that according to the Conservation International website, attempts to integrate biodiversity conservation into oil and gas development.

The EBI, convened by the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business, is bringing together four major energy companies and five of the largest conservation organizations to share experiences and build on intellectual capital to create value and influence key audiences. The following organizations have committed senior representatives as well as financial and in-kind resources to the Initiative: BP, Chevron Texaco, Shell International, Statoil, Conservation International, Fauna and Flora International, Smithsonian Institution, The Nature Conservancy, and The World Conservation Union (IUCN). There are four working groups, co-led by representatives from the participating ‘energy companies’ and conservation organizations. BP, and Fauna and Flora International are co-leading the Metrics Working Group that has resulted in performance indicators for measuring the positive and negative impact of oil and gas development on biodiversity. Meanwhile, BP and Conservation International have collaborated on the BP Tangguh Project. The positive contribution to biodiversity protection, if any, with this initiative is unclear. However, it is clear that the oil and gas companies have greatly enhanced their image with this collaboration with international conservation groups. Areas of significant biodiversity that also contain oil and gas reserves have no doubt been jeopardized with this initiative.

On Investing in Communities

In a BP publication, it was noted that 70% of BP’s total community investments are concentrated on North America and Europe. BP not only admitted this but also stated that they operate in countries with “fragile social structures and limited experience in the market economy.” Meanwhile, BP made profits of approximately $14 billion in 2000 but its social investment spending totalled $80 million. BP has also boasted that more and more governments like China, the UK and Trinidad have sought out international companies like BP to request their help in internal concerns. Indeed, this is a favourable situation for BP but a dangerous and likely disastrous situation for local communities and governments where BP operates. Unfortunately, countries facing economic crisis are forced to seek foreign investors like BP that feel it is their business to override national policies on several key issues. BP interests have superseded internal matters in the past in countries such as Colombia and the U.S., while local community interests and rights have been forsaken and governments have been placed further in compromised positions. BP has already been known to spend loads of money on lobbying for policies that favour BP business like the US energy policy especially in terms of exploiting Alaska…..

…Despite, the propaganda and recruited allies, BP’s global oil, gas and petrochemical empire continues to grow, garnering profits at the expense of human rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, and environmental sustainability.

Jatam.org (c) 2003 by Jatam

Contact Webmaster : weamaster@jatam.org

From: Tracy Glynn tracy@jatam.org

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Vietnam

Asian Shrimp Exporters to Fight U.S. Suit

By MARGIE MASON

.c The Associated Press

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Asian shrimp exporters on Thursday said a U.S. antidumping lawsuit is an example of blatant protectionism – and vowed to fight to keep overseas shrimp on American dinner plates.

The U.S. Southern Shrimp Alliance filed the suit Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission against Thailand, China, Vietnam, India, Brazil and Ecuador.

The alliance, an eight-state group of shrimpers and processors, claims those countries have dumped shrimp on the U.S. market at unfairly low prices, crippling their industry in the United States. They want the government to impose tariffs on imported shrimp.

But exporters from the targeted Asian countries – representing three of the biggest exporters of shrimp to the United States – argue they’ve done nothing wrong, and say the suit is just an example of Americans ignoring free trade to protect their own interests.

A ruling on the suit is expected by mid-February.

”This move goes against the trend of global trade liberalization to which the United States claims they are the champion,” said Nguyen Van Kich of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, which has retained U.S. attorneys to fight the suit.

The United States buys the biggest portion of its imported shrimp from Thailand, shipping in about 194,000 tons worth $1.1 billion in 2002, according to Thai figures. Officials there say U.S. sanctions would force them to seek new markets for 30 percent to 50 percent of their shrimp exports.

The Southern Shrimp Alliance claims the value of U.S.-harvested shrimp was cut in half – from $1.25 billion in 2000 to $560 million in 2002 – with a 40 percent drop in employment at Southern shrimp plants. Meanwhile, it says imports from the six targeted countries increased from 466 million pounds in 2000 to 780 million pounds in 2003.

The European Union and Japan have recently clamped down on shrimp imports because of concerns about antibiotics in farm-raised shrimp, forcing more exporters into the American market at lower prices. The U.S. shrimpers’ group claims American imports are not held to the same health and safety standards as domestic shrimp.

But Abraham Tharakan, president of the Seafood Exporters Association of India, called the suit ”unfair and discriminatory.”

Seafood exporters in Asia are trying to form an alliance to fight the suit, and the Indian government will be asked to help, Tharakan said.

The United States is India’s second-largest shrimp buyer after Japan. Nearly a quarter of India’s shrimp exporters’ $1 billion-plus earnings come from American imports, Tharakan said.

China’s Commerce Ministry did not answer repeated phone calls to its offices Thursday. Neither its Web site nor the official Xinhua News Agency carried any reaction from Beijing.

In Vietnam, officials are especially concerned because the International Trade Commission ruled in July that the communist country dumped catfish on the U.S. market. The commission imposed duties ranging from 36.84 percent to 63.88 percent on Vietnamese catfish exporters.

But Vietnam’s catfish industry is tiny compared to its shrimp business. In 2002, the country was the United States’ second-largest shrimp supplier with exports worth $467.3 million, compared to just $55 million for catfish.

01/01/04 21:59 EST

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

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Vietnam News Nov.6, 2003

ECOLOGY ASIA

Local livelihoods threaten Xuan Thuy National Park

Hoai Nam

The goals of economic development and environmental conservation can often clash, and that,s what,s happening in Xuan Thuy National Park.

The expansive, heavily forested wetlands, about 150km south of Ha Noi, are home to a wide range of migratory waterfowl and other species, and comprise Southeast Asia,s only Ramsar Convention site – wetland areas recognised internationally for their ecological importance.

But despite the special designations on the area in Nam Dinh Province, which also include the granting of national park status by the Vietnamese government earlier this year, Xuan Thuy,s delicate ecosystem is under threat because of local citizens, need to make a living.

The 7,100ha park,s fauna are the big earner for people from local communes, generating an estimated annual revenue of VND30-40billion.

Rice farming is still the dominant local industry, but shrimp and fish farming have become the most profitable occupations. And the illegal hunting of birds using snares has also proved a convenient and effective method of making money.

Such disruptions of the ecosystem are believed to cause a variety of problems for the park,s wildlife, which include as estimated 215 species of birds – several of which are listed in the International Red Book of Endangered Species, such as black-faced spoonbills, western white pelicans, black-headed gulls and redheaded egrets.

The park is deposited with alluvial soil from the Hong (Red) River estuary, creating an abundant environment for aquatic species as well as shelter for waterfowl migrating across the continent.

Park officials in 1996 saw 65 black-faced spoonbills and 20 spoon-beaked plovers, bird species which had been thought to be extinct. Global climate change as well as human activities continue to threaten their survival.

If it,s not the birds themselves that are caught, people,s activities in the area can disrupt their habitat and food supply, said Xuan Thuy park director, Nguyen Viet Cach.

“Local people seeking shrimp, crab and oysters in the park have for years caused a problem for the quiet life of birds,” he said.

People can earn VND25,000-VND30,000 each per day from selling crabs, shrimps or oysters. They sometimes cut mangrove for firewood, which could destroy the forest in the future.And farmers graze cows, goats and buffaloes on small hills in the park.

Solving this conflict between economics and environment is the most critical issue for local authorities.

“If authorities can develop other lines of work here, maybe we could get by,” said Nguyen Thi Thuan, a farmer in the commune of Giao Thien.

Formerly, sedge planting and making carpets was the traditional job in local communes, but farmers need assistance from governments to sell the products.

Such trades as bee-honey and livestock breeding are considered possibilities to improve living standards for locals, while minimising the number of farmers disrupting the area,s natural resources.

And as is often the case, authorities are hoping tourism can come to the rescue. The upgrading of Xuan Thuy to national park status, along with the five-year Wetland Management Project funded by the Dutch government, are hoped to create the possible development of sustainable eco-tourism in the park.

However, such ambitions still lack a long-term master plan for the area,s future that would balance economic and environmental aims. It,s also believed that locals need to be better educated on the significance of the park.

Park officials aim to develop a plan to establish Xuan Thuy as an eco-tourism site in the 2005-10 period, working with local authorities and other offices in a joint effort to promote sustainable aquaculture in the park.

Organisations such as Birdlife, Crest ( centre for natural resources and environment studies) and International Marine Alliance, as well as scientists, have joined in assisting the park in conservation and education in the past few years.

But there are only nine park staff members to take on forest protection and bird conservation over the large area.

The ambitions will need substantial funding from the State and international organisations to see through the plans that are in the works. – VNS

From: mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

—————————————–

S. ASIA

Bangladesh

Extortionists pushing Rupsha shrimp plants towards ‘closure’

Plant owner seeks life security against ‘death threat’

Quazi Amanullah, Khulna

THE DAILY STAR

Frozen shrimp processing factories in Rupsha upazila are on the verge of closure due to ‘death threats’ given to some of the owners allegedly by armed men belonging to BNP and outlawed organisations for refusing to pay tolls.

Talking to this correspondent yesterday, some of the owners alleged that BNP armed men are also not allowing renovation of their factories in view of the planned visit by two inspection teams from EU and the USA, likely in February or March next year.

There are 18 shrimps processing plants in Rupsha upazil, according to sources in Khulna unit of Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters’ Association. All those factories are export oriented.

It is alleged that armed men loyal to Rupsha upazila BNP Senior Vice-president Mohiuddin Shaikh have given ‘death threat’ to the managing director of Modern Sea Foods Ltd Alhaj Md Rezaul Huq for not paying toll, demanded monthly.

Rezaul Huq has also been threatened not to do any renovation work at his plant before toll payment.

Huq has submitted written complaints to the local police station and the Joint Forces camp seeking “security of life from BNP vice president Mohiuddin Shaikh and his armed cadres”.

He has also appealed for action against the toll collectors to “save shrimp processing plants in Rupsha from being closed.

“BNP cadres have forced me to suspend production and renovation of my factory as I refused to pay tolls”, Huq aid said in his complaint.

Other shrimp exporters in Khulna have sharply reacted to this incident. They have appealed to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to intervene to save shrimp exporting industries from the hands of ruling party cadres and outlaws. Otherwise, they will be compelled to closecdown business, they said.

Rupsha upzilla BNP leader Mohiuddin Shaikh at a press conference refuted the allegation.

The BNP leader in written statement accused Rezaul Huq of grabbing his paternal land by force for construction of the factory.

Besides, the shrimp exporter (Huq) grabbed government land now being used for expansion of Modern Sea Foods, the BNP leader alleged.

None from BNP ever demanded toll from the shrimp exporter, he said.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

—————————————–

Bangladesh can earn $1.5b from shrimp export: US envoy

BSS, Dhaka

THE DAILY STAR

US ambassador to Bangladesh Harry K Thomas Sunday underscored the need for quality maintenance of shrimps and assured frozen foods exporters of extending cooperation in developing the shrimp industry of the country.

The US ambassador was addressing as the chief guest at an opinion exchange meeting with members of Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) at BFFEA conference hall here.

“The shrimp industry is the future of Bangladesh,” the US ambassador said. He said the country could earn 1.5 billion US dollars by exporting shrimps if concerted efforts are taken to develop the industry.

Stressing the need for resolving the problems relating to customs, immigration, anti-dumping, the US ambassador called upon the exporters to hold a joint meeting with organisations concerned.

Welcoming the US ambassador, Quazi Monirul Haq said Bangladesh has earned about 80 million US dollars by exporting shrimps to the US during the last fiscal.

The BFFEA president sought assistance from the US ambassador to remove the various hurdles including the anti-dumping measures.

He pointed out that refusal of Bangladesh shrimps by the US was very negligible comparing to other shrimp exporting countries.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

—————————————–

Indian pirates kidnap 10 Bangladeshis from Sundarbans

The Daily Star, January 3, 2004. Dhaka, Bangladesh

THE DAILY STAR

Indian pirates kidnapped 10 Bangladeshis at gunpoint from Pashurtola area in the Sundarbans under Shyamnagar upazila yesterday and demanded Tk 10 lakh ransom for their release.

According to family sources, the victims, including Mofizur Rahman, Zahidur Rahman and Akhtar Hossain of village Gava under Satkhira Sadar upazila, went to the Sundarbans for a trip by an engine boat.

When they reached Pashurtola, a gang of Indian pirates swooped on the boat and kidnapped them.

Later, the gang released two boatmen — Alamgir and Zahirul — on condition that they would come back to the Maloncha River in the Sundarbans with the ransom money within three days.

From: Zakir Kibria

—————————————–

Pakistan

The Daily Time Karachi.

Pakistan, India urged to solve fishermen,s problems

Staff Report

KARACHI: The founder of the World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP, Thomas Kocherry, has called upon India and Pakistan to declare the sea beyond 35 nautical miles of their respective coasts as free zones, providing maximum opportunity to poor fishermen of the two countries to exploit sea resources.

Speaking at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Monday, he also urged the two countries to inform each other about the arrest of fishermen for violating sea limits and not to detain poor fishermen for more than one month.

He said since there was no clear-cut demarcation of sea boundaries between the two countries, fishermen unknowingly strayed into each other,s territorial waters.

He suggested India and Pakistan should form a body to expeditiously decide the cases of fishermen who strayed into each other,s territorial waters.

Mr Kocherry also demanded that both India and Pakistan ban fishing by deep-sea trawlers in their territorial waters, which were rapidly depleting seafood resources and rendering thousands of poor fishermen unemployed.

He said the WFFP was also organizing a rally against fishing by deep-sea trawlers in Karachi on Tuesday in cooperation with the Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum.

DAILY TIMES

From: “wffp /nff” fishers@eth.net

NORTH AMERICA
USA

US shrimpers to file anti-dumping case against exporters

AFP, Washington

THE DAILY STAR

The leading US shrimp trade association is set to file an anti-dumping case against countries they claim sell shrimp in the United States at below-market prices.

The Southern Shrimp alliance said in a statement that imports “from countries such as Thailand, China, and Vietnam” are “causing market distortions that harm the US shrimp industry.”

Details will be made public after the case is filed Wednesday, said Brad Ward with Dewey Ballantine LLP, the Washington law firm handling the case.

Alliance spokeswoman Deborah Regan said that countries in southeast Asia and Latin America had been targeted, but refused to give further details.

The Alliance represents shrimp harvesters, processors, and distributors from eight US states.

In mid-December representatives of Mexico’s National Chamber of Fishing and Aquaculture Industries met with the Alliance and agreed to cooperate “to jointly oppose unfair trade in shrimp.

“The flood of unfairly traded shrimp injures both the US and Mexican shrimp industries and must be offset through strong enforcement of the trade laws in our two countries,” representatives said in a joint statement at the end of their meeting.

According to US government figures, in 2002, shrimp passed tuna to become the number one consumed seafood in the United States. Americans consumed 3.4 pounds (four kilos) of shrimp per person in 2001, up 9 per cent from 2000.

However while in 2000 the value of the US shrimp harvest was 1.25 billion dollars, by 2002 that had plunged to a mere 559 million due to competition from cheap imports.

The president of the year-old Shrimp Alliance, Eddie Gordon, said earlier that shrimping in the United States “has always been more than just a business, it has been a way of life.

“Today, our tradition, our way of life is threatened. Shrimpers, their families, related businesses, and many communities dependent on shrimping are experiencing serious economic harm. We are nationally united for the first time to prevent this.”

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

—————————————–

U.S. Shrimp Industry Demands Relief From Unfairly Traded Imports

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 /PRNewswire/ — The U.S. shrimp industry is asking its government to take swift action against imports of dumped shrimp from Thailand, China, Vietnam, India, Ecuador, and Brazil that are injuring the domestic industry.

Today the Shrimp Trade Action Committee, an ad hoc committee of vessel owners and shrimp processors, petitioned the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission to restore the conditions of fair trade in shrimp by imposing antidumping duties on shrimp imported from the six countries. The Mexican shrimp industry has also joined the call for fair trade and supports the trade action.

A variety of financial incentives provided by national governments and international institutions over a number of years have over-stimulated the infrastructure and production of farm-raised shrimp in these countries. This overproduction, coupled with import tariffs, controls, and occasional shrimp import bans by the European Union means that ever-increasing volumes of foreign shrimp are entering the U.S. market at ever-lower prices.

“The U.S. shrimp industry is in dire straits. Competitive and efficient companies are closing, unemployment is rising, and boats are being repossessed. The key reason is the high and increasing level of dumped shrimp imports entering the U.S. market,” said Eddie Gordon, President of the Southern Shrimp Alliance. “If the unfair practice of dumping continues, many more family businesses will fail, thousands more employees will be out of work, and many coastal communities will be devastated.”

In 2000, the value of the U.S. shrimp harvest was $1.25 billion. Due to the flood of dumped imported shrimp from the targeted countries, the value of the U.S. shrimp harvest in 2002 plunged over 50 percent to $560 million. For example, the average dockside price for one count size of Gulf shrimp dropped from $6.08 to $3.30 per pound over the same period. Meanwhile, during the same period, frozen wholesale prices for domestic shrimp received by domestic processors fell from $6..45 to $4.77 per pound. Employment levels of U.S. shrimp processors dropped over 40 percent during that same time period. An investigation by U.S. Department of Agriculture has found substantial price declines caused by increased imports of shrimp.

While the wholesale value of shrimp has dropped to the lowest levels in 40 years, the Wall Street Journal reported that the average price for a shrimp entree at major restaurant chains actually increased by as much as 28 percent. Plainly, the consumer has not benefited substantially from the lower import prices and the domestic industry (shrimpers and processors) have not benefited from the higher prices paid by consumers.

The Southern Shrimp Alliance is an alliance of eight southern coastal states from North Carolina to Texas, representing the harvesters, processors, and distributors of American wild caught shrimp.

SOURCE Southern Shrimp Alliance

—————————————–

1 Jan 2004

ASDA Press Release Concerning Filing of Antidumping Petition on Imported Shrimp

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 /PRNewswire/ — The American Seafood Distributors Association (ASDA) and its allies throughout the nation’s retail, restaurant, and foodservice distribution system will vigorously oppose the antidumping petitions filed today against exporters of shrimp from six countries. According to Wally Stevens of Slade Gorton & Co., who also serves as ASDA’s President, “We look forward to the opportunity to explain to the International Trade Commission in the coming weeks why continuing access to imported shrimp is essential to the financial well-being of literally thousands of American businesses and individuals who are employed by those businesses. Moreover, the inescapable truth is that, even if successful, this case will not generate a single additional pound of domestic shrimp sales because the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic shrimp fisheries are being fished to their maximum capacity right now.”

Shrimp is the nation’s most popular seafood, and shrimp consumption is expected to continue to expand rapidly, according to a recent report by the USDA. Since about 90 percent of all shrimp is imported, it is essential that trade not be restricted. Moreover, shrimp is an engine of economic growth in many underdeveloped countries around the world. These countries can produce shrimp at a much lower cost through farming than can domestic fishermen, who face very high and rapidly increasing fuel, gear, and labor costs.

According to Stevens, “the domestic shrimp industry has failed to anticipate the dramatic change in production methods from fishing to farming. Readily available farmed imported shrimp has become an alternative ‘center of the plate’ source of protein, just like beef and poultry. Moreover, it is price competitive with beef and poultry, which provides a tremendous benefit to the consumer.” These benefits will be lost if artificial antidumping duties are imposed under highly technical rules administered by the Commerce Department.

ASDA has apparently failed in its longstanding effort to convince domestic shrimp producers that they need to position their product in the market place as something other than a “commodity” because domestic-ocean caught shrimp simply cannot compete in a commodity market against farm-raised imported shrimp. As a result, ASDA’s members have no choice but to fight to preserve their right to import shrimp and preserve those American jobs that imported shrimp has created.

SOURCE American Seafood Distributors Association

CO: American Seafood Distributors Association

ST: District of Columbia

SU: www.prnewswire.com

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

EUROPE
Germany

Editor’s Note: Please see the Feature Story in LFN #129 for FUNDECOL’s (of Ecuador) Recommendations for Organic Shrimp Aquaculture Standards for Certification which contest those present standards set by Naturlund at this point in time. More needs to be done to truly ensure that environmentally sustainable and socially equitable standards are set in place.

Organic shrimp production

Conventional shrimp production, with its emphasis on exports, usually has a deleterious effect on the environment. All over the world the sensitive mangrove forests, the breeding grounds and habitat of many species of fish, are being destroyed by converting them into enormous fish farms. The neighbouring regions, too, are suffering enormous damage because of the general deterioration in water quality due to over-fertilisation and the use of antibiotics. The shrimps which Germany imports come mainly from the fish-farms in Thailand and Ecuador, the two major producers.

With the financial support of GTZ (Gesellschaft f?r technische Zusammenarbeit mbH), Naturland in early 1999 started a pilot project for organic production of shrimps in Ecuador. This unique project, the only one in the world, comprises three farms to date, two of which are near Guayaquil, the centre of shrimp production in Ecuador, and one in the south of Ecuador. In 2000 the first organic shrimps were certified by Naturland.

Information to Consumers

Shrimps from Certified Organic Aquaculture

Contact:

Dr. Stefan Bergleiter: s.bergleiter@naturland.de

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
International Conference- Water India 4- Water Resources Development- Flood

Control, Irrigation, Drinking Water, Waterways, Hydro Electric Power and its

Transmission System *****

February 3- 4, 2004; Hotel Hyatt Regency, New Delhi. INDIA.

www.IndiaCore.com announces the International Conference- ‘Water India 4- Water Resources Development – Flood Control, Irrigation, Drinking Water, Waterways,

Hydro Electric Power and its Transmission System’.

From: “IndiaCore” ipis@vsnl.net

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Oregonian

RANCHING THE OPEN OCEAN

12/23/03 MICHAEL MILSTEIN

Look out at the boundless ocean, and envision a new Iowa — homesteaded by fish farm colonies bigger than downtown Portland, with row upon row of undersea cages roiling with swimming livestock. It’s a dream of seafood visionaries, and the Bush administration is laying the foundation for it.

Federal officials are drafting legislation to let fish farmers lay claim to parcels of sea, just as pioneers laid claim to acreage in the unsettled West. Expected to head to Congress next year, it would apply to federal waters from three to 200 miles offshore — an immense region outside state jurisdiction and bigger than the entire land area of the continential United

States.

The move underscores U.S. government aims to expand fish farming in the United States fivefold by 2025. At that rate, the value of farmed seafood would surpass that of the nation’s wild catch. Commercial fishing may become one of the last of the hunting and gathering traditions. With salmon prices depressed, the new breed of farms may raise more

marketable species: cod, halibut, black cod, red snapper, shellfish and more. Nobody imagines it would all happen right away, but over time, fishing boats could give way to bargelike cage complexes that hover below the waves — safe from storms — before rising up on floats come harvest time.

Unlike land, oceans have long been viewed as a common resource. The new legislation would grant businesses exclusive use of the sea under leases that may run 20 years, signaling the United States’ plans to embrace an aquaculture boom sweeping the world.

“It would be sort of industrializing the oceans to produce things, and that’s a brand-new idea for people,” says Richard Hildreth, director of the Ocean and Coastal Law Center at the University of Oregon.

Fish farmers speak in dreamy terms of “blue pastures” ready to be sown. Offshore farming can reduce the nation’s rising dependency on imported seafood, they say. More than 75 percent of seafood eaten in the United States comes from abroad, much of it raised on farms that may lack rigorous

health and environmental standards.

“It’s a food security issue,” says Conrad Mahnken of the NOAA-Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center near Seattle, who is working on the new legislation. “It’s difficult to know the quality of our food when we don’t control where it comes from.”

This is the fish farming vision.

But many Northwest fishermen see it as the first step toward privatizing the oceans, undermining fishing communities and handing over public waters to industry. A bill in Congress would also let oil companies avoid the cost of removing marine drilling platforms — and claim tax breaks — by converting

them to free-standing fish farms.

Fish farming today could open the door to eventual leasing of the ocean for garbage dumping or other damaging uses, critics say.

“This is one of the largest public trusts we have,” says Jeremy Brown, a salmon and albacore troller in Bellingham, Wash., who is trying to rally others against the movement. “Industry and the administration are looking at it and saying, ‘How can we cash in?’ ”

On the far north coast of Norway, amid an Arctic landscape covered in snow much of the year, a laboratory is developing fish for the sea farms of tomorrow. Anyone entering the chilly basement room full of conical tanks swirling with finger-sized cod must first don sterile slippers. The Norwegian government has invested $3 million in these pale gray fish — the first generation of a national breeding program for cod.

Six researchers, including geneticists and molecular scientists who can scrutinize the tiniest bit of DNA, track the fish daily to select those best suited to farm life. Traits such as growth rate, disease resistance and adaptability to confined spaces all figure in.

Farmers have long sorted cows and chickens in similar ways, and Norway has become the most proficient farmer of high-value fish. The Scandinavian country has mastered salmon farming and exported it around the world.

Cod, a worldwide staple, may be next, especially with wild stocks in steep decline.

“We are realizing that captures of wild cod may never be much greater than they are today,” says Arne Arnesen, director of aquaculture research for the Norwegian Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, which operates the breeding center on the island Ringvassoy. “There is now room for more

farmed species.”

Down the laboratory’s hallways, tanks burble with tiny, transparent lemon sole, mean-toothed wolffish, sea urchins, king crab and more — all species that may have a future on farms.

When it comes to aquaculture, countries including Norway, Japan and Chile have left the United States in the dust. Fish farming is expanding around the world by about 10 percent a year, but by only 2 percent in the United

States, says Linda Chaves, director of the office of constituent affairs at National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration-Fisheries.

“Why should the economic advantages of these farming operations accrue to other countries if they could accrue here?” she asks. “We would like to be the leaders in establishing what the environmental standards should be

globally, but right now we’re not a player at the table.”

As the federal agency charged with building aquaculture, NOAA-Fisheries has sunk cash — more than $3 million last year — into making the United States a player. Grants and loans have gone to hopeful fish farmers and researchers

designing new cages to stand up to rougher seas offshore, where currents may supply cleaner water, and to solve disease and escape problems.

It plans to pay a New Hampshire company $289,774 to develop a U.S. strain of cod for farming.

But as near-shore fish farms clash with seaside residents and activist groups, NOAA-Fisheries thinks the only way fish farming can fulfill its promise is to move farther offshore.

Marine farming will take place in something called the Exclusive Economic Zone, or EEZ. It begins where state waters end, three miles from shore, and extends 200 miles from the coast. It lies under federal jurisdiction, yet no

federal agency is entirely in charge of it.

That means fish farmers trying to set up shop crash into a bureaucratic wall: No federal law covers the leasing of ocean for fish farms or provides for environmental safeguards.

In 1987, a company called American Norwegian Fish Farms Inc. wanted to occupy 50 square miles of ocean 37 miles off Massachusetts and build 90 pens that would hold 45 million pounds of salmon. But, facing repeated regulatory struggles over several years, the company gave up.

The new blueprint for aquaculture would outline a straightforward process for the secretary of commerce to grant permits. It’s unclear whether environmental standards that apply on land would extend offshore — or what controls would limit escapes, fecal waste and use of drugs. Salmon farms in

operation worldwide face few restrictions on the management of huge volumes of waste. But the government would set up new standards through a public rule-making process, Chaves said.

Just as land grants encouraged settlers and railroads to develop the American West more than a century ago, rights to the sea are seen as a vital incentive to persuade fish farms to expand offshore.

An early draft of the new fish farming legislation, obtained by The Oregonian, authorizes the secretary of commerce to lease sections of ocean for fish farming for up to 20 years. Farmers would pay the government royalties of one-half of one percent of the sale price of their fish.

A report funded by NOAA-Fisheries suggests zoning the ocean, like national forests, into sections suited for commercial use, recreation and other purposes. Some regions might become “aquaculture parks” — after industrial parks on land — where many fish farms could operate together.

A possible location in the Northwest would be the Strait of Juan de Fuca, outside Puget Sound, said Dan Swecker, executive director of the Washington Fish Growers Association.

“If you could do it on a massive enough scale, it could be worthwhile,” he says. “It would take major investment.”

Fishing and recreational uses would likely be restricted in leased waters, creating perhaps the first example of a private business mandate for U.S. waters.

Farmers, the legislation says, must use “best available and safest technologies” to protect public health and the environment. But it offers a loophole rarely seen in federal regulation — the best technologies would not be required if incremental benefits are “clearly insufficient to justify” the costs.

Officials have since revised the legislation, but would not release the latest version until it is cleared by the administration. Fishermen fear leasing will shut them out. Farming proponents say that’s unlikely, however, since farms need not be big to be prolific.

“You can produce huge volumes of fish in a relatively small area,” Chaves says. “I would be shocked, stunned and amazed if we ever had huge fish farms blanketing our EEZ.”

But it is difficult to tell where the limits might be. NOAA-Fisheries, a branch of the Department of Commerce, is vying for the role of regulating ocean fish farming while also promoting it. The agency has made marine aquaculture a top priority for $6 million worth of grants in the next two years.

Some of that would go toward engineering cage systems that could stand up to battering by the sea. One of the pioneers is Ocean Spar Technologies of Bainbridge Island, Wash., which sells $100,000 saucerlike cages that remain submerged and can be tethered almost anywhere currents allow it. Almost 20

are in use around the world, and the cage has proved sturdier than the fish inside it, said aquaculture manager Langley Gace.

“It’s like being in outer space,” he said. “You’re out away from everything, so you really have to plan ahead.”

The ultimate obstacle to offshore fish farming, however, is higher cost. With salmon prices depressed by oversupply, companies are looking into more valuable species. As they move farms toward the horizon, they also may compensate by raising lots and lots of fish.

“The industry is going to develop whether we like it or not,” says Chaves. “We would like to ensure it’s done in an environmentally sound manner. We can’t do that unless we’re at the table.”

Michael Milstein: 503-294-7689;
michaelmilstein@news.oregonian.com

From: Eatwildfish@aol.com

Late Friday News, 129th Ed., 19 Dec 2003

Dear Friends,

This is the 129th Edition of the Late Friday News. I have just returned from a working visit in Europe. This newsletter comes with more accumulated news than usual, as over 3 weeks has passed since the last LFN.

MAP is still in need of your support more than ever, as our workload has greatly expanded, as has our effectiveness as an international network.

PLEASE CONDIDER MAKING YOUR YEAR END GIFT TO MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT! We can do so much with so little, yet so much more can be done with a little more support!

Please let us know if you would like to be removed from MAP’s e-mail list. Otherwise, we will continue sending you the Late Friday News and those occasional urgent updates.

Holiday greetings to all on this list!

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,

Mangrove Action Project

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 129th Edition, 19 December 2003
FEATURE STORY
Resolution On Shrimp Certification

MAP WORKS
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration,”
Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves
MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours MAP voted “Best of the Best”
MAP Project Work in Indonesia, New CCRC Readied

AFRICA

Senegal
African Mangrove Network In Formative Stage

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Thailand
Our seas, ourselves, need better than this
Boom for black tiger farms over
SHRIMP EXPORTS ROW: We’ll avoid Airbus jets, PM warns
***ACTION ALERT!!!*** Letters of Support Needed for Wildlife Protection

Malaysia
Illegal import of exotic prawns can wipe out industry

Vietnam
Shrimp farmers lop vital mangrove
Shrimp sector friends kick in suit support
Can Gio mangrove forest earns praise
Shrimp farms gobbling up food of imperiled cranes in Hon Chong
Bad irrigation holds back aquaculture

S. ASIA

Bangladesh
Shrimp industry needs structural change
Revised work-plan for Sundarban okayed

India
Police mercilessly attacked Killai fisherwomen.

E. ASIA

China
China’s Mangroves In Need Of Local Community Support

LATIN AMERICA
Brazil
Brazil’s Mangroves Facing Increasing Threat
DISEASES ATTACK SHRIMP FARMING AT CEARA

NORTH AMERICA
USA
Shrimp industry threatens communities and ecosystems worldwide
US shrimpers to seek duties on rising imports

EUROPE
The UK
Cooking with a conscience

STORIES/ISSUES
Peas may be used as feed more often
“Green light” for GM trees

ANNOUNCEMENTS
A Wetlands Map From Space
People, Projects, Papers, and Places linked to mangrove management
Call for NGO/IPO participation in COP-7

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS

Waterbirds conference planned for Apr. 2004
NGOs CSD 12 briefing note

CALL FOR PAPERS
The Tenth Biennial Conference–Study of Common Property

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Chilean Salmon Seized
Salmon farming must change; we have a lot to lose

AROUND THE CORNER
Letter from Burma
DO OCEAN PLANETS EXIST?

FEATURE STORY
Resolution on Shrimp Certification

Bahia de Caráquez, Ecuador

5 November 2003

Meeting of the Board of Redmanglar

WE EXPRESS our concern over plans to expand the shrimp farming industry in all the countries where Redmanglar is currently working, because of the demonstrated history of social and environmental destruction that this activity has imposed in our countries.

WE NOTE the growing interest of the shrimp farming industry in getting access to certification schemes to counteract the destructive image that the industry has developed over the last decade.

WE STATE that, in the view of Redmanglar, the shrimp farming certification schemes currently being proposed for the countries where we work do not guarantee an ecologically and socially responsible activity, nor have our member organizations been consulted about these proposed schemes.

WE DEMAND a moratorium on all aquaculture certification schemes and we call for the establishment of a consultative process to determine the basis on which a socially equitable and environmentally sound aquaculture activity can be built. Such a consultative process will allow us to properly evaluate the different certification schemes.

With respect to certification schemes in particular , Redmanglar considers that no aquaculture activity — especially no shrimp farming activity — should be promoted or certified, unless the following criteria are taken into full account:

Any certification scheme must serve the objectives of sustainable food production, local population food security and respect for human rights;

Any certification process must guarantee the full participation of the communities that will be affected by the proposed activity, both in the first stages of the process as well as in the later follow up stages. Participation must not be restricted to the mere provision of information, but provide for and enable real participation in the decision-making process;

All stages of the certification process must be fully transparent, with all relevant information made fully available to the affected communities and other potentially affected stakeholders;

Land rights, including traditional use and tenure rights, must be clearly established and documented. Local communities with legal and/or customary tenure or use rights shall maintain these rights over aquaculture operations unless they delegate control with free and informed consent to other agencies;

No shrimp farming activity should affect or destroy traditional uses of land and water and the control of these resources by local communities;

Compliance with all national and international law related to the activity must be ensured, as well as compliance with all local administrative requirements;

No certification should be granted without a previous study of the social, economical and environmental impact of the activity. These studies must take into account the impact on the coastal area, on the hydrographic basin, as well as on other uses within the region, with particular attention given to the activities carried out by local communities;

No certification will be granted on the basis of any promise of future improvements;

No aquaculture activity will rely for larvae supply purposes on wild catches;

The use of potentially harmful chemicals such as pesticides, algaecides, fungicides, immuno-stimulants, antibiotics or other similar products that might bio-accumulate or persist in the environment must be prohibited;

The activity must provide for proper and stable employment, and respect all rights warranted by the ILO Conventions;

The use of non-indigenous species as well as genetically modified organisms must be strictly prohibited;

The chain of custody, from the producer to the final seller, must be perfectly traced and all relevant information has to be made publicly available.

From: Fundecol

MAP WORKS
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery café of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com

Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

—————————————-

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net  for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

—————————————-

Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on

2. GROUNDS FOR CHANGE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair Trade Federation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

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“Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration,”

Just a reminder that registration for “Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration,” February 23-26, 2004, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is still open but available slots are filling fast. Registration closes January 1, 2004. Contact Sherry Capaz atSherryCapaz@aol..com  for more information.

Soraya Vanini Tupinamba

Assessora do Instituto Terramar

Forum em defesa da zona costeira cearense

Membro do Conselho Diretor da REDMANGLAR para la defensa de los ecosistemas costeros y la vida comunitaria

www.redmanglar.org

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Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MAP Eco-Study Tours In Thailand

Mangrove Action Project Eco-study tour entitled ” SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM : An experiential study of Thailand�s coastal resources and the people who depend on them” is scheduled to take place in Thailand 4-17 July 2004. This program will be lead by Dr. G. Lamar Robert of Chiang Mai University and he can be contacted for further informationcho@chiangmai.ac.th

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MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being considered for the month of June or July, 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

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John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first of many Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.

Phuket Weather

Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT

partly cloudy 32�C

Humid.: 70 %

�asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new

“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

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MAP Project Work in Indonesia, New CCRC Readied

Regarding recent developments, as you know everything slows down between Romadhon/Eid L’ Fitr’ and Tahun Baru di Manado. No new construction is going on now in Tiwoho.

In January we are having two workshops that will help complete the center. Both are on schedule. One is on bamboo furniture building, will be 4 weeks long, and will train 25 villagers in building and marketing treated bamboo furniture. Half of the targeted 250 pieces will be used to furnish the center, which will also act as a showroom. THe other half will be sold at a pameran which will coincide with an opening ceremony in February, with press and all.

The second workshop is co-facilitated by Jaringan Kerja Tungku Indonesia and will outfit the kitchen, and demonstration palm sugar production area (from Nypah and Coconut Palm).

With regards to Oda, upon returning from Sri Lanka he initiated a mangrove rehab workshop focusing on hydrological rehab of the mangroves adjacent to Tiwoho. His scientific rehab plan is complete and we are helping to look for the $8000 needed to implement it. They are also moving forward with the SK Desa on mangrove conservation, which will delineate all of Tiwoho’s mangroves as a sustainably managed mangrove forest, with extensive no-take zones and a village mangrove management committee which is already functioning.

From: “Ben Brown”

AFRICA
Senegal

African Mangrove Network In Formative Stage

This is just a short notice to announce that the Africa Mangrove Network is now in the process of forming and organizing itself as a proactive network of NGOs and local communities working towards effective conservation and restoration techniques, as well as capacity building and alternative development options for affected local communities.

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Thailand

Bangkok Post Dec.12, 2003

EDITORIAL

Our seas, ourselves, need better than this

Thailand is to join 11 other regional states today in signing the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia. Three years in the making, this considerable document was required as a response to the regional implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and other international meetings which call for greater effort at the regional and international levels to curb environmental degradation and to safeguard the world’s remaining natural coastal and marine resources.

The seas of East Asia, for the purpose of this strategy, are bordered by China, North and South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Accompanied by a rich variety of maps and information authored by experts over recent years, the 111-page report is expected to deliver clear and concise strategies by which our region can address the issues which affect our oceans.

The depletion of fish stocks has long been of concern to Thai fishermen. They have been forced to travel further afield to maintain their livelihood and, in doing so, they have often been caught encroaching upon the waters of neighbouring countries. Imprisonment and the impounding of their vessels has resulted in great hardship for not only the fishermen’s families but also the Thai authorities who, more often than not, have had to pay the cost of repatriation.

Thailand’s once expansive mangrove forests lining the shores of all but the region’s pristine beaches provided a nursery for fingerlings, but now these forests are fast disappearing. They have lost the battle against shoreline development, and this loss has exacerbated the reduction in fish stocks. Only now, at places like Bang Pu, can we see that authorities realise how valuable mangrove forestation is and are undertaking massive replanting.

Pollution of seawater by increased rainwater run-off and sewage has also had a huge detrimental effect. Fortunately, all is not lost. Pattaya had seen its once pristine beaches and thriving aquatic life nearly obliterated by uncontrolled pollution. But through hard decisions and heavy investment in treatment, the Chon Buri resort has been able to rein in the pollution and the seas are now slowly winning back their environment.

Fish stocks, mangroves and pollution are the main issues Thailand, and possibly the 11 other signatories, want addressed, but the strategy for the seas of East Asia provides little of promise. All it has to offer are platitudes along the lines of “[I]f current trends in environmental degradation are not changed, the social fabric of many nations could dramatically deteriorate over the next 50 years” and “[T]he value of the global centre of marine biodiversity supported by the area is beyond valuation. If it is lost, it can never be replaced”.

In its defence, the strategy does offer some informative findings. For instance, Southeast Asia’s coastal ecosystem has suffered severe damage over the past 30 years, with 11% of coral reefs having collapsed, 48% in critical condition and 80% at risk. Also, East Asia’s population of 1.9 billion people is expected to rise to 3 billion by 2015, with about 77% of this population living within 100km of the coast.

The strategy however offers no suggestions on how to address the many crises the seas are faced with. It calls for the countries of the region to “adopt a shared vision of the seas of East Asia”, whatever that means, but does not suggest any new legal obligations. Unfortunately, the 12 nations with coastlines formed by the seas of East Asia have lost an important opportunity that a more constructive strategy might have provided. The millions who rely on these seas could have been much better served.

From: “MAP / S.E. Asia”

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Boom for black tiger farms over

Farmers in debt, plea for help as prices fall

VICHAYANT BOONCHOTE Bangkok Post, December 8, 2003

Boom times for black tiger prawn farming in the South may have ended. Prices have hit a 10-year low of 100 baht a kilogramme, down from 300-400 baht a few years ago. Black tiger prawn farmers are looking for new ways to make money.

“Several years back, you’d see lights flickering from the ponds on both sides of the streets. Back then, prices were great. There were no

diseases, no chemical residues to worry about.

“Car showrooms, cafes, restaurants mushroomed. Shrimp farmers paid thousand-baht tips to dancers at cafes,” said Prasert Duang-ngam, a shrimp farmer in Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Pak Panang district.

Some black tiger shrimp farms are still left in Pak Panang, simply because the land is not good enough to grow trees.

“We’re already in. We have to keep fighting,” he said.

In Songkhla’s Ranot, more than 700 black tiger shrimp farmers are also putting up a fight that could be their last. A court has told the 777 farmers taking part in a black tiger prawn farming business run by Acqua Star Co to pay 700 million baht in debts to their creditor, Bank of Asia.

Boonmak Thepchit, a farmer leader, said farmers were asking provincial authorities to negotiate with the bank, which is prepared to seize their farms.

“We’ve also sought help from the farmers’ rehabilitation fund,” he said. A source in Acqua Star Co said falling prices and low-quality products were hurting farmers.

“Shrimp prices fall too fast and too much while feed costs don’t. Control over breeding is poor. About 50% of shrimps are of poor

quality,” said the source.

Pongpol Jindapol, a shrimp farm owner, said prices fell sharply after a few giant firms led the market.

“Those big companies signed a contract with importers in the US, offering 100 baht a kilogram. Most farmers can’t sell below 150 baht,” he said.

Mr Pongpol said the firms buy shrimps from farmers only in times of oversupply. “They can have the shrimps frozen and shipped later,” he said.

A source at Songkhla’s fisheries office said imports of shrimp from India and Vietnam had also cut prices.

“They’re cheaper than home-bred shrimps. In fact, the shrimps are from farms in which Thai businessmen are investors,” the source said. Khanit Chaiyakham, of a local coastal fisheries research institute, said the industry had become highly competitive in the past five years.

Exporters have switched to farming white prawns, which were cheaper due to low feed costs. Black tiger farmers have asked the government to keep prices at 230 baht a kilogramme. They go for 165 baht a kilogram now.

They are also demanding a ban on imports of black tiger shrimp and price controls on shrimp feed and shrimp farming-chemicals.

From: Andrianna Natsoulas anatsoulas@citizen.org

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SHRIMP EXPORTS ROW: We’ll avoid Airbus jets, PM warns

THE NATION, Published on Dec 18, 2003

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has threatened to cancel any future purchasing deals with EU aircraft manufacturer Airbus in retaliation for what he called unfair trade practices against Thai shrimp exports.

“We need not practice fair trade practices with a country which implements unfair trade principles with Thailand. It is unfair to categorise Thailand as a rich country, while Malaysia has not been put on that list, as grounds to charge [higher] import tariffs,” Thaksin said yesterday.

Early this week, the Commerce Ministry said it might launch retaliatory measures against the European Union for unfair trade practices. Shrimp from Thailand have been subjected to higher import tariffs than shrimp from Malaysia because the EU maintains its generalised system of preferences status for Malaysia although that country is more developed than Thailand.

Commerce Minister Watana Muangsook said Thailand had been treated unfairly by the EU, because Thai shrimp were subject to import duties as high as 12 per cent, while

Malaysian shrimp faced only a 4-per-cent duty.

Thai shrimp exports to the EU plunged 39 per cent to US$639 million (Bt25.4 billion), while volume contracted by 38 per cent to 2,576 tonnes, during the first eight months of this year.

Thaksin said the government would not cancel any signed agreements but would revise new purchasing contracts.

In August, Airbus said Thai Airways had already ordered eight planes after winning approval to spend $1.4 billion over five years to expand its fleet. That order was not in

doubt, but additional purchases in planning would have to be reconsidered, the PM said.

Airbus has also said the Royal Thai Air Force ordered a corporate jetliner version of the Airbus A319 aircraft in September.

“If the EU is not concerned about the issue why should Thailand worry about it? We have to call for justice and if we face unfair treatment, we will treat them the same way,” Thaksin said.

Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said THAI shifted to considering the purchase of new aircraft after US-based United Airlines declined to sell seven of its used planes to the national carrier.

However, no decision has been made yet on whether to buy new aircraft from US aircraft manufacturer Boeing – or Airbus. Airbus is owned 80 per cent by European Aeronautic, Defence and Space, based in Germany and France, and 20 per cent by Britain’s BAE Systems.

From: mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

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***ACTION ALERT!!!***

Letters of Support Needed for Wildife Protection

DENlines@den.defenders.org  writes:

Dear Friend of Wildlife:

As part of a three month campaign, officials from Thailand have recently ramped up their investigations of illegal wildlife trafficking, and recovered more than 33,000 animals, including tigers, bears, orangutans and birds, according to a December 10 article in theWashington Post.

In one raid, a team of forestry police officers entered a house on the outskirts of Bangkok and discovered tiger carcasses quartered and on ice, 21 bear paws, severed at the joints, six starving tigers, five live bears, and four baby orangutans, one of which died because of the horrendous conditions. Maj. Gen. Sawake Pinsinchai, a veteran police officer, told the newspaper that it was a “tragic scene” that “boggles the imagination.”

Sawake’s team also raided an open market, and seized more than 1,000 protected species of birds in one day, and a couple of private zoos, where they found 70 unregistered orangutans. According to Sawake, Queen Sirikit and Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra are urging greater protection for wildlife and are focused on ending illegal wildlife trading, which, in profitability, is second only to drug trafficking worldwide.

Please send a free fax to the Royal Thai Embassy and ask them to relay your appreciation to the Thai leaders in charge of the campaign for their efforts to protect wildlife in their country. To send the free fax, go to: www.denaction.org  and log in, then select Alert #270. Or, you can send a fax directly to: 202-944-3611 or an e-mail to the Royal Thai Embassy at: thai.wsn@thaiembdc.org

Thank you for taking part to help save wild animals and the places in which they live!

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

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Malaysia

Illegal import of exotic prawns can wipe out industry

Source: New Straits Times World News 11/4/2003 by Carol Murugiah

GELANG PATAH, Nov 3: Prawn breeders have been given until the end of the year to stop illegally importing exotic prawns which carry viral diseases

that could wipe out the RM763 million prawn-farming industry.

Fisheries director-general Junaidi Che Ayub threatened “drastic action” to the 1,275 prawn breeders who have been importing the virus-prone white prawn species called “Litopenaeus vannamei”.

This included working in tandem with agencies such as the Land Office, Tenaga Nasional and water management companies to shut down the operations of farms which were guilty of breeding the prohibited prawn species, he said after visiting the department’s Brackish Water Aquaculture Research Centre here to witness the harvesting of the “F. indicus” species.

Local prawns are not resistant to the “L. vannamei” species from South America which carries the highly contagious Taura Syndrome Virus (TSV).

Junaidi said the department has also come up with an alternative to the South American white prawn which was cheaper to breed and matured faster.

The local white prawn species, called “Fenneropenaeus indicus”, is marketed at the same price as the South American species.

However, it is cheaper and easier to obtain and can be harvested after only 90 days.

“We have embarked on road shows since May to educate prawn breeders nationwide of the dangers of illegally importing exotic prawns,” he said.

Junaidi said the department will begin auditing prawn farms after the grace period ends.

Prawn breeders, Junaidi said, should have learnt a harsh lesson from the devastating effects of White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) which caused US$500 million (RM1.9 billion) losses across Asia in 1996.

“At least we now have control measures in case another WSSV breaks out,” he said. “But we could suffer heavy losses should a prawn virus not endemic to Malaysia strike our industry.”

From Dr. Michael Skladany, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy e-mail: mskladany@iatp.org

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Viet Nam

Viet Nam News, Nov.18, 2003

Shrimp farmers lop vital mangrove

CA MAU — Officials in Ca Mau have ordered shrimp farmers in the region to stop cutting

down the mangrove forest to expand production. Nguyen Van Dien, deputy director of the provincial Fisheries Department, said the department would send staff to teach farmers how to increase their output without cutting down the trees.

There is about 118,000ha of mangrove forest left in Ca Mau, including 66,000ha in the

Ngoc Hien District. About 18,654ha of forest were cut down from 1997-2000. Ta Van Ca, 78, said the mangrove forest was made up of small, short trees. Shrimp farmers cut down the larger trees.

The farmers were happy when they earned VND80,000-100,000 per kilogram for their

shrimp. However, their shrimp started to die when the trees lost their leaves, which polluted the water, he said. As the shrimp died, the farmers cut down more trees to save them because none of them wanted their families to go hungry. The farmers pruned the mangroves to allow light to filter down to the shrimp.

They knew they were damaging the forest, but they refused to stop because their lives

depended on such operations, said Ca.

Tran Hoang Chen, chairman of the People�s Committee for Ngoc Hien District, said the

economy failed when the shrimp died. Environmental conditions had a huge impact of farmers’ outputs, he said.

The shrimp industry should change, because the forest must be protected, he said.

Nguyen Thanh Viet, deputy of the district’s Agriculture and Rural Development, said the

forest was becoming smaller due to shrimp farming. Farmers used to grow freshwater crayfish before 1997. When they discovered they could earn more money raising prawns, farmers chopped down more trees, he said

About 157,000 people live in the district. More than 14,000 household raised shrimp in

51,000ha of mangrove forest. Each household received 3-7ha for their operation. District officials said they hoped the forest would recover in five years. �VNS

From: mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

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Viet Nam News, Dec.1, 2003

Shrimp sector friends kick in suit support

HCM CITY — Vietnamese companies operating in shrimp-related industries have expressed support for an effort by the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) to fight an anti-dumping lawsuit. Representatives of the 40 companies have contributed some US$70,000 to a fund raised by VASEP�s Shrimp Division in preparation for the US lawsuit.

The financial support comes from shrimp farmers, feed suppliers, sales agents, package

and chemical suppliers, transporters, and others. The fund was a response to an appeal by the Shrimp Division. “We are calling for financial and non-financial support to prepare for the lawsuit,” Nguyen Van Kich, head of the VASEP Shrimp Division, said at a meeting on Thursday.

The money raised by the fund will be used to pay for lawyers the Shrimp Division expects to hire to fight a US lawsuit against shrimp exporters for alleged dumping in the US market. The lawsuit was initiated by the US Southern Shrimp Alliance and the Louisiana Shrimp Association to fight shrimp exports to the US from16 countries, including Viet Nam.

Kich said the expense for Viet Nam to pursue the lawsuit would be higher than that spent

in the legal battle against US accusations of Vietnamese catfish dumping. That lawsuit

costs Viet Nam some $500,000.

American shrimp farmers in eight southern and southeastern states of the US established

the Southern Shrimp Alliance in October last year, with an aim to file a lawsuit against

shrimp exporters, including Viet Nam. � VNS

=======

Viet Nam News, Dec.4, 2003

Can Gio mangrove forest earns praise

HA NOI — Protection in the Can Gio mangrove forest is the best in Southeast Asia, said

the head of the forest’s management board at the 25th anniversary celebration ceremony

of the forest’s recovery.

Le Van Sinh said about 30,000ha of forest was growing well. Can Gio mangrove forest is home to rich fauna and flora including 157 species of plants, 63 species of plankton, 130 species of algae, 120 species of fish and 31 reptile species.

From: mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

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VIET NAM NEWS, Dec.13, 2003

Shrimp farms gobbling up food of imperiled cranes in Hon Chong

KIEN GIANG— Shrimp farming is eating-up the food supply for endangered red-headed

cranes in Hon Chong commune in southern Kien Giang Province. As of October, the commune’s World Red Book-listed crane flock had shrunk from 347 birds in 2000, to only 287, said Dr Duong Van Ni of Can Tho University’s Agricultural Institute.

Three years ago, district authorities subsidized the commune’s shift from

ineffective rice farming to shrimp breeding. Now, all 300 households are aquaculturists.

The shrimp farms now cover over 2,900ha of marshland, leaving only 100ha of the

indigenous Chinese water chestnut grass, the cranes’ favourite food, said Dr Tran Triet of

HCM City’s Social Sciences and Humanities University and head of the International

Crane Foundation.

“Hon Chong is no longer suitable for Chinese water chestnut grass,” Triet said.

The commune sits in the centre of Dong Ha Tien, a 220,000ha region once home to 142

bird species. The region possessed the most favourable natural resources for red-headed

cranes. Agricultural authorities introduced shrimp farming to Dong Ha Tien in 1990.

Now, farms cover most of its marshland.

In 1997, concerned researchers from HCM City’s Social Sciences and Humanities

University, Can Tho University and the International Crane Foundation launched a

collaborative research effort to preserve Hon Chong’s ecology.

“We warned the district authorities they could do whatever they liked, but needed to

preserve the indigenous plants of Hon Chong,” Triet said. In 2002, the International Crane Foundation recommended that the commune’s remaining 1,300ha of marshland should be set-aside as a crane preserve, opened to eco-tourists, he said. But local authorities failed to implement their preservation recommendations.

The Foundation’s latest survey in October reported that Hon Chong’s natural marshlands were beyond restoration. Other ornithologists at the Foundation have recommended establishing a preserve in

another commune within the district. However, Triet said, it would be difficult to change the crane’s migratory pattern to align

with human policies.

Triet said in order to keep the red-headed cranes in Hon Chong, local authorities must act immediately. Deputy chairman of Kien Luong District’s People’s Committee Nguyen Van Tan said it would cost about VND70 billion (US$4.5 million) to relocate locals and

restore the land’s natural state. But he said the province could not afford the preservation cost.

Tan said: “1,300ha of shrimp farming will fetch VND30 billion each year, but protecting

several hundreds of red-headed cranes we will earn how much money? “We know it is important to restore the ecological environment in Hon Chong,” he

said. “But we also know that the locals’ standard of living is important, too.” — VNS

From: mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

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VIET NAN NEWS, Dec.13, 2003

Bad irrigation holds back aquaculture

Poor investment has been blamed for the snail-paced and inefficient development of

aquaculture. The Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Countryside Today) newspaper talked

with Deputy Minister of Fisheries Nguyen Thi Hong Minh about the issue….

…This year, the aquaculture sector will fail to meet the US$2.3 billion target set for exports.

The situation will be the same next year when the export target is set at $2.6 billion. Along with market fluctuations, inadequate investment into aquaculture, irrigation systems has been the main cause for the shortfall. Obviously, irrigation is indispensable to aquaculture activities but it has not received due attention. Drainage and

water treatment are often ad hoc.

Farmers have to find their own water supply and often discharge waste water into the

environment without any management from local authorities….

State investment is still low in the sector. State funds this year total VND200 billion

(US$12.83 million), averaging several billions of dong allocated to each province. But the

funds fall far short of the demand. Bac Lieu Province, for example, is home to 100,000ha

of aquaculture production. As a result, with VND8 billion of State investment, it becomes

hard for the southern province to develop its production capacity to the fullest….

…Some provinces are waiting for State investment even while they have their own plans ready for aquaculture development. But some areas just don’t have the resources to expand on their own. Farmers in the central and Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces have suffered heavy losses as a result of epidemics and flooding. It means all their material and physical efforts get swept away by the wind….

…In some areas, farmers are experienced and have mastered the right techniques.

However, in the long term, a master plan will be needed for things such as irrigation,

breeding, the farming environment. This is really a big issue. No matter how successful the enterprise or farmer, it will be impossible to sustain that success without instruction and support from the State….

…Funds for irrigation development could be mobilized from all economic sectors and private enterprises. However, it will be impossible to develop a system of embankments, canals and large-scale drainage without the role of the State. We must ensure all localities are equipped with good irrigation networks. Shrimp farming needs fresh water and sea water. This will require several hundreds of billions of dong each year.

We have proposed to Prime Minister Phan Van Khai several strategies we hope to make a big leap forward in the years to come. Next, we need to address management shortcomings. — VNS

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S. ASIA

Bangladesh

Shrimp industry needs structural change to increase export — Global Aquaculture Alliance chief tells New Age

New Age, December 10, 2003. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladesh needs to make structural change to the whole chain of its shrimp industry for increasing export that is facing stiff competition in the global market.

George W Chamberlain, president of the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) based in the USA made the observation while talking to New Age.

The GAA chief stressed that main task of Bangladesh should be to maintain quality of shrimp as the US, the major export destination of county’s shrimp, now emphasises on food safety.

‘Buyers are now very sensitive. If a container lorry is detained by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), it bears different connotations for the buyers,’ he told New Age in an interview recently.

In this regard, he mentioned that businessmen are now facing risks involved in shrimp import to the US market following strict regulations imposed by the US administration.

He, however, admitted that a few steps like hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) are non-tariff barriers to export. At the same time, he insisted that Bio-terrorism Act, which requires registration with the FDA for food export, is a simple process that would not add any costs to the consumers.

The GAA chief, who came to Dhaka to attend the two-day Global Aquaculture Discussion Forum (GADE), saw huge prospect of shrimp cultivation in Bangladesh thanks to natural surface water needed for shrimp cultivation in ponds.

The US business expert expressed his satisfaction over the growth of Bangladesh’s shrimp cultivation as a total of about six lakh people are engaged in shrimp cultivation here.

Shrugging off environmental issues like mangrove destruction and pollution as problem for major Bangladesh’s shrimp industry’s growth, Chamberlain identified lack of direct link with the buyers as impediment to the country’s shrimp export.

‘I don’t see any magic, be it flashy advertisement, for promoting Bangladeshi shrimp, rather than changing the basic structure from the production to the marketing level, including quality in processing,’ he said.

He pointed out that Bangladesh is and would be facing stiff competition in the global shrimp market with China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Brazil when international players are addressing the issues they are facing.

Asked about the current trends of shrimp cultivation as well as global demand, Chamberlain gave statistics that about 1.5 million tonnes of shrimp is produced across the world per year that meets 50 per cent of the global demand.

Global shrimp farming is increasing at a rate of 15 per cent per annum which indicates that indicating future demand, he added.

From: Zakir Kibria

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Revised work-plan for Sundarban okayed

JULHAS RIPON

New Age, December 18, 2003. Dhaka, Bangladesh

As part of the government�s ongoing initiatives to re-launch the suspended Sundarban Bio-diversity Conservation Project (SBCP), a stewardship commission meeting under the environment ministry on Wednesday approved the revised work-plan of the project in order to persuade the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which is the main donor, to resume the funding of the project, said official sources.

The approval came at the second meeting of the Sundarban Stewardship Commission following some conditions earlier set by the ADB. The president of the commission, Environment Minister Shajahan Siraj, was in the chair.

The ministry hoped that the approval would help the government re-launch the $77.5 million SBCP in the next couple of months, said officials.

Earlier, the ADB alleged that the stewardship commission became �dysfunctional� due to �bureaucratic� attitude and urged the government to rejuvenate the commission.

The first meeting of the commission was held on November 21, 2002. The commission was formed to formulate a long-term action plan involving government officials, environmentalists, lawyers, journalists and the local MPs.

Well into its third year of implementation with roughly more than 30 per cent of the funds spent and only a very small portion of the work completed, the project was scrapped in September last due to gross inefficiencies in project implementation and inconsistencies in the project�s expenditure accounts.

The ADB, at a meeting with the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) in last September, informed the government that it would discontinue the funding of the project.

The SBCP began in 2000 in an attempt to protect the Sundarban � the largest contiguous block of coastal mangrove forests in the world � which is the home of the famous Royal Bengal Tiger and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Officials hoped that the ADB would be optimistic about the government�s initiatives and take steps to re-launch the SBCP.

From: Zakir Kibria

—————————————-

India

Police mercilessly attacked Killai fisherwomen.

By Our Staff Reporter.

26 November 2003 – The Hindu

CHENNAI.

Rights activists have demanded legal action against the police at Killai village in Cuddalore district, for illegally detaining over 90 fisherfolk, including women, and abusing them. According to a fact-finding report presented to the media today, the fisherfolk had been running a decade-long struggle against shrimp farms on the banks of the Uppanar. Most of the villages in the Killai town panchayat were dependant on seasonal fishing and agriculture, and the shrimp farms were destroying both the options.

Finally, frustrated over government “indifference,” the villagers decided on September 18 to open the shutters of the shrimp industries and let the waters out. Following a complaint, the police went in search of the fisherfolk leaders after midnight. Not finding them, they attacked women with lathis, the report said. Eventually, 92 persons, including 32 women, were arrested. The women were released on bail a few days later, but about 60 men were still in the central jail, Cuddalore.

The report said the police had violated Supreme Court guidelines on lock-up, custody, interrogation of women, arrest and detention. The fisherwomen were

“mercilessly attacked” and no policewoman was present during the arrests. Nor were custody memos served. The arrests were “unwarranted and patently illegal.”

A complaint was lodged with the State Human Rights Commission.

Besides, six villagers, who were travelling to Chennai to meet the Press today, were also detained by the police last night, committee members said.

The committee had been invited by the Campaign for Custodial Justice and Abolition of Torture, and the Campaign Against Shrimp Industries to enquire

into the alleged police excesses and the functioning of the shrimp industries.

‘Ban shrimp farming’

The committee recommended a ban on the shrimp industries in Killai and urged the Government to mark the high tide lines to implement Coastal Regulation Zone rules.

The shrimp farms in Killai had destroyed the livelihood of the villagers, said N. Markandan, committee member and former Vice-Chancellor, Gandhigram Rural University. The industries had made the waters saline, destroyed

agricultural land and depleted fish resources. “The mangrove forests there are also at threat. The ecosystem is shattered.”

The shrimp farms, prohibited in coastal zones, were given licence by the Aquaculture Authority in violation of Supreme Court guidelines on protection of coastal environment, said P.V. Bakthavatchalam, president, Organisation for Civil and Democratic Rights.

The farms, located on the banks of the Uppanar, pumped in salt water for shrimp culture and discharged the effluents into the backwaters. The waste water contained pesticides, steroids and feed used for the culture, and thus killed fish in the river, the report said.

Committee members said there were 182 farms spread over 632 acres in Cuddalore; of these, only 86 farms on 209 acres had licence. At Killai village and surrounding areas, there were 115 shrimp farms.

From: “Mike Shanahan”  mike.shanahan@ejfoundation.org

—————————————-

E. ASIA

China

China’s Mangroves In Need Of Local Community Support

The Huiwen Township, Wenchang County, northeastern Hainan, has a coast of 28 km and more than 6000 ha of mudflat. Off-shore fishery is the most important economic activity. Recently fishery resources were depleted as a result of widespread abuse. Only 10% of the 2000-ha mangrove in 1950s, critical breeding and feeding ground for fish, shrimp, shellfish, and edible worms, survive today. Destructive fishing operation such as the use of explosive, poison, and electric shocking ran rampant.

To protect the livelihood of the community, the local villagers tried to take the matter into their own hands and set up the Guannan People’s Organization for Sustainable Use of Coastal and Marine Resources in March. It has more than 300 members. It has already taken the following activities: planting of 200 ha mangrove trees, patrolling the coast and off-shore to fight destructive fishing operation, undertaking environmental education; releasing fish and shrimp to stock the resources, production of a 10-year strategic plan.

From Dr. Haibin Wang,

E-mail: haibinw@public3.bta.net.cn

LATIN AMERICA
Brazil

Brazil’s Mangroves Facing Increasing Threat

This alert is coherent and necessary, since we are about to put mangroves from the state of Maranhao (Brazil) at risk and with it RAMSAR, for which Brazil is responsible, before all states that signed this convention, to protect or avoid expansion of shrimp farming activities, according to the

Costa Rica meeting in 1999.

Unfortunately, due to the resolution that rules shrimp farming activities in out country, developers have ferociously advanced into salt marsh areas, which are part of the mangrove ecosystem. This alert is nothing new. It two decades old, dating from when our neighbor Country, Ecuador, witnessed the degradation of coastal ecosystems in their

territory. TERRAMAR’s initiative should be praised and its appeals heard.

Clemente Coelho Junior

BIOMA\IOUSP

UPE

From: “terramar”
terramar@fortalnet.com.br

—————————————-

SHRIMP FARMING: A DISH TOUGH TO DISGEST FOR BRAZILIANS

DISEASES ATTACK SHRIMP FARMING AT CEARA, PIAUI AND RIO GRANDE DO NORTE STATES AND ARE THREATENING THE COASTAL REGIONS OF BRAZIL

When shrimp farming started its rapid growth in the Northeast of Brazil, with Litopenaeus Vannamei , the production leaped from 3,600 tons in 1997 to 60,128 tons im 2002. Brazil holds today the highest annual productivity rates, 5,458 kg/ha/year (data from ABCC-Associacao BrasiIeira Carcinicultores). Brazilian productivity is even higher then China’s, the worlds largest producer (1,158kg/ha/year) or Thailand’s (3,421kg/ha/year), the second largest, or even higher then Ecuador (633kg/ha/year), which is now more prudent when it comes to shrimp farming, after seeing its production drop due to the “mancha blanca”, the so called “white spot” virus that swept farms in 1999.

Non-governmental agencies and social movements in Ceara and in the Northeast in general have been alerting authorities since 1999 to the unsustainable growth pattern. Now, in 2003, Ceara is witnessing the arrival of a disease characterized by the shrimp’s body necrosis, even though the cefalothorax (head) remains untouched. This is happening in the basins of Jaguaribe and Pirangi rivers, as well as the Camocim and Acarae regions. This disease is reaching shrimp farms in Ceara, Piaui and Rio Grande do Norte states, and information is being kept from local population so as prevent a drop in shrimp consumption.

Brazil exported 16,807 ton to the USA in 2002 (Los Angeles, Nova York, Miami ) and also to Spain, among other countries. We environmental activists in the Northeast of Brazil, see this phenomena mainly as the end result of an unsustainable activity, which in Ceara state alone has a productivity rate higher then the national average and the highest worldwide (7,249kg/ha/year). The increase in the number of shrimp farms leads to degradation in the quality of water, which was already felt by the population, due to contamination of water sources and fish mortality (shellfish, fish, oysters).

DISEASES CAN THREATEN NATIVE POPULATIONS OF SHELLFISH WITH GREAT ECONOMIC VALUE TO THE REGION

Diseases that have been attacking shrimps can also reach other shellfish and contribute to reduction of natural populations of crabs and shrimps. Until recently, shrimp farming was prohibited in Maranhao state, but now it is seen as a new expansion front through the Fish and Acquaculture Policies (special secretariat of Acquaculture and Fishing, or SEAP) It’s important to assess the risks of introducing farming of a Pacific white shrimp ( Litopenaeus vannamei) in a state such as Maranhao, which holds 50% of the Brazilian mangrove areas and that also has a RAMSAR site, which considers that regions of Maranhao have international importance for conservation of wetlands.

Besides the threat against biodiviersity that the introduction of shrimp farming in the North coast of Brazil (Amazon region) represents, it’s also important to highlight the economic aspects, for the “pink shrimp” native to the Northern region is the main fish product in that coast. This resource is part of one of the largest shrimp banks in the world, going from Maranhao to the Orinoco delta. Production during the past years has remained around 4,000t and 5,000t. Another shellfish of great economic importance is crab, one of the most important members of the mangrove ecosystem and found throughout the Brazilian coastline, from Oiapoque (the northermost point of Brazil) to Laguna (state of Santa Catarina, in the south). In Maranhao and Para states, we find the greatest mangrove ecosystem areas (Schaeffer-Novelli et al, 1990) and both states have contributed with 50% of the controlled crab production in Northeast and North regions, with values ranging from 10,000t to 12,000t, providing Northeastern capitals with a gourmet tourist attraction.

We urge environmental organizations, social movements and scientists to step in and help us prevent a terrible outcome that threatens the coastal areas of our country, and help us prepare and organize ourselves for the Environmental National Conference, in Brasilia.

terramar@fortalnet.com.br

Soraya Vanini Tupinamba

Assessora do Instituto Terramar

Forum em defesa da zona costeira cearense

Membro do Conselho Diretor da REDMANGLAR para la defensa de los ecosistemas costeros y la vida comunitaria

www.redmanglar.org

NORTH AMERICA
USA

Globalization’s catch: Shrimp industry threatens communities and ecosystems worldwide

Friday, November 21, 2003

By Rebecca Robbins

Far from the delta: Kevin and Margaret Curole traveled to the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers meeting in Isla Mujeres. Margaret Curole doesn’t quite fit the image of an antiglobalization activist. A Louisiana shrimper and lifetime resident of the Louisiana delta, Curole traveled to Mexico for the first time for the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers gathering in Isla Mujeres for the World Trade

Organization meeting in Canc *n last September.

Curole has found herself in many places she never expected to be in the past few years. But since shrimp prices started to drop three years ago, reaching a 30-year low this year, Curole, along with many other shrimping families around the Gulf and up the Eastern seaboard have found themselves unable to sit back and watch as their traditional livelihood and their communities disappear around them.

What brought Curole to Mexico was the suffering she had seen along the waterways and bayous of the Louisiana delta. Shrimp has long been the foundation of the economy in these parts. Curole

and her husband Kevin own a 50-foot steel-hulled shrimp boat, The Heavy Metal. And for the past 15 years, with Kevin at the captain’s helm, they have lived almost exclusively off their income from harvesting shrimp.

Since 2000, however, shrimp prices have dropped so drastically that eve leaving port is a losing financial proposition. Ice costs $10 a block, diesel $1 a gallon, and small shrimp, which used to fetch 80 cents a pound, are going for 15 cents a pound. As Curole said, “You do the math.”

Jumbo shrimp, which number 10 to 15 a pound, used to sell for upwards of $4 per pound. Now a shrimper is lucky to get $2 for the same shrimp. However, for Louisiana, it’s the drop in prices for small to medium shrimp that has really hurt. Small to medium shrimp have always been the market stronghold for Lousiana shrimpers. Unfortunately, that’s the same size as the pond-raised shrimp that have been inundating the U.S. market from abroad.

Shrimpers throughout the gulf say that it’s the rising imports of these farm-raised shrimp, primarily from Asia and Central America, that are responsible for the record low prices for shrimp in the U.S. market. A National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) study shows that imports from India have increased 74 percent and imports from Vietnam have increased by 169 percent over the last three years, according to an Atlanta Journal

article. And putting traditional fishers in developed countries out of business isn’t the only repercussion of farm-raised shrimp.

Shrimp farming operations are raising a myriad of environmental, health, and community concerns for those in developing countries. Industrial shrimp

aquaculture throughout Asia, Central America, and parts of Africa presents one of the gravest threats to mangrove forests, negatively impacts water quality and salinity, and produces shrimp laden with antibiotics.

According to the World Rainforest Movement (WRM), mangrove forests are “among the most productive ecosystems in the world.” These coastal forests are habitat for an incredible array of biodiversity: birds, land mammals, reptiles, and a variety of marine animals. In addition, the forests provide flood control and are an important source of medicines and foods for native communities, as they serve as a nurturing ground for many juvenile marine species.

Mangrove forests are also quickly disappearing: More than 50 percent of these forests have been destroyed in the past 50 years. Shrimp aquaculture

is responsible for a large portion of this destruction: 102,000 hectares (252,042 acres) of mangroves were converted to aquaculture in Vietnam from 1983 to 1987, more than 12,000 hectares (29,652 acres) in Honduras between

1986 and 1994, and more than 80,000 hectares (197,680 acres) in Thailand from 1961 to 1993, according to the WRM.

Many of these projects were supported by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Others drew funding from national governments in need of cash crops to pay back loans from these sources and from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The industrial aquaculture installed after the mangroves are destroyed threatens both water quality and salinity. Because the shrimp are held in an enclosed salt-water area, a large amount of waste accumulates. Leaving the shrimp to soak in the waste would produce contaminated shrimp, so clean water is used to flush the waste out, contaminating the surrounding water sources rather than the shrimp. This flushing process also increases the salinity in freshwater aquifers nearby.

Because infection can quickly wipe out an entire crop of shrimp and the close proximity of the pens increases chances of disease, farmed shrimp are

dosed heavily with antibiotics. The European Union banned imports of Chinese shrimp and other food products in January 2002 after the banned antibiotic

chloramphenicol, which causes anemia, was found in a shipment.

Many fear that the next step is genetically engineered shrimp, which would bring an additional layer of environmental concerns. These include genetic contamination to the wild shrimp population and the potential threat to consumer safety from eating genetically modified products.

In addition to the environmental impacts, shrimp aquaculture converts farmland that once provided jobs for many to shrimp farms that require only

a few laborers. It takes land out of circulation, contributing to landlessness.

According to the Mangrove Action Project, “In just one province in India alone, Andra Pradesh, 48,000 people were displaced in a period of less than three years by extensive and semi-intensive shrimp farm developments.”

However, traditional shrimping is not free from environmental problems either. For years, shrimpers and environmentalists in the United States have

been engaged in a battle over the use of turtle-exclusion devices (TEDs) to save sea turtles from becoming entrapped in trawling nets. Since 1994,

almost all U.S. shrimp trawlers have been required by law to haul TEDs in their nets.

But according to Charlotte Gray Hudson, a marine wildlife specialist with the ocean conservation group Oceana, the openings in the TEDs were too

small. Although Kemp Ridley turtle populations have increased with the use of TEDS, “the larger, sexually mature loggerheads, leatherbacks, and green turtles were still being entrapped in the trawls,” she said. Just this past August, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued new regulations increasing the size of the TEDs required by law, which should help these other turtle populations as well.

While TEDs are required in U.S. waters, a U.S. attempt to outlaw imports of shrimp caught without turtle excluder devices was struck down by the WTO in 1998 in the infamous Shrimp/Turtle dispute. In a challenge brought by India, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Thailand, a WTO panel ruled that the U.S. Turtle

Shrimp law constituted a barrier to trade, and the United States was forced to weaken the section of the Endangered Species Act that prohibited the

import of shrimp caught without a TED.

Louisiana shrimpers still protest the use of TEDs in their waters, claiming that turtles have never lived around the Mississippi River delta. The issue seems to be a question of whose experience is correct: According to Hudson, NMFS data taken from aerial surveys indicates that there are turtles here,

while shrimpers claim they don’t see turtles. While the cost of a TED is relatively small, US$50-$350 per device, shrimpers claim that using a TED greatly reduces their catch, as the device allows not only turtles, but also shrimp, to escape.

Turtles and TEDs aside, there are still substantial concerns about bycatch. Because shrimpers drag their trawls for upwards of 45 minutes and sorting

through the haul on deck takes another half-hour, any marine creature who manages to survive the ride in the trawl cannot live out of water until the

catch is sorted. According to Hudson, “4 to 5 pounds of other species are caught for every pound of shrimp caught.” In Louisiana, this 4 to 5 pounds

of nontarget species includes red snapper juveniles, croakers, and blue crabs.

While the bycatch is thrown back into the water and provides a food source for gulls, crabs, and others, it is removed from its natural place in the food chain. The exact impacts of bycatch is unclear, but it is clear that “if you remove an entire species, you alter the marine ecosystem,” said Hudson.

In the gulf, red snapper is a commercially caught fish, and removing juveniles has cut into the available stocks and, thus, the quotas available

to red snapper fishers. This issue has sparked a controversy between shrimpers and red snapper fishers.

But there is a potential solution to this conflict. While bigger TEDs promise to eliminate the turtle bycatch, a bycatch reduction device (BRD),

which is “essentially a small gate strategically positioned so fish can swim against it” can cut back on finfish bycatch, said Hudson.

The issue of bycatch is severe enough that environmentalists and artisan fishers in India � many of whom fish commercially for the species which are swept up as bycatch by mechanized trawlers � are fighting not for the use of TEDs but for an outright ban on mechanized trawling.

According to Vandana Shiva in her book Stolen Harvest, American environmentalists missed a huge opportunity to join with Indian environmentalists in calling for a ban on trawling and a consumer boycott of shrimp products, rather than just for the use of TEDs.

In the United States, Hudson is convinced that the problems with trawling are not unbroachable. “There are solutions out there if we use them,” said

Hudson. “We can have trawling and sea turtles. We just need cooperation from the fishermen, the environmentalists, and the government.”

While both industrial aquaculture and traditional shrimping methods have environmental repercussions, traditional shrimpers in the United States are fighting to protect their way of doing things. An eight-state coalition of shrimpers is bringing an antidumping suit against many of these Asian and Central American countries in the U.S. Court of International Trade. Shrimpers demonstrated in July against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and are watching carefully what happens at the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) meeting in Miami taking place Nov. 17-21. For many shrimpers who had never heard of these institutions and the WTO only a few years ago, the links between global free trade and their dropping shrimp prices are becoming ever more clear.

Free trade proponents, on the other hand, argue that this is simply a free trade system functioning properly, eliminating inefficient industries and

opening markets up to foreign competition. They believe the antidumping suit is a hypocritical, protectionist measure and an unfair and illegal action from a country that advocates free trade.

According to Dan Ikenson of the CATO Institute in his publication Antidumping: The Unfair, Unfair Trade Law, “The fact is that the antidumping

law is protectionist, contradictory, and unfair. Its overzealous application routinely punishes U.S. importers and foreign exporters who transact fairly,

and ultimately undermines the administration’s broader trade agenda.”

Ikenson said that the calculation methods used to determine whether dumping is occurring essentially disregard any sales below production cost in a

company’s home country, hence stacking the decks toward a finding that dumping is occurring.

Curole maintains the shrimper’s lawsuit is justified and does not contradict the U.S.’s larger free trade policies. “We’re not against free trade,” she

said. “We’re against free trade that puts Americans out of jobs. ” She claims the countries importing shrimp are not doing business fairly. “They send three times as much product right when demand in the U.S. market is at its highest,” she said.

The system of global trade itself also creates environmental threats, aside from the direct environmental impacts of shrimp farming on water quality and mangrove forests. Shipping shrimp halfway around the world means using more fossil fuel than shipping it across state or country. Ships use Bunker C, a low-quality, highly polluting oil, and planes use many times more fuel than

ships. Aside from the environmental impacts associated with extraction of fossil fuels, this increased consumption also affects air quality and

contributes to climate change.

Underlying these problems is a substantial environmental justice issue: Shrimp is not a food item which provides a protein source for local

consumption. Rather, shrimp farms are contaminating the waters of developing countries not to feed the local people but to provide a luxury food item for wealthier, protein-glutted countries, oftentimes actually damaging the protein supply for the local community.

Back in Louisiana, Curole and other shrimpers understand that antidumping duties will not offer a permanent solution; they’ll have to make changes to their shrimping and business practices as well.

And herein may lie the best opportunity for positive environmental change. U.S. shrimpers are contemplating a branding campaign that would market Louisiana shrimp as a specialty product, more desirable than pond-raised shrimp. They might consider taking it to the next level and using an eco-label scheme, where shrimpers would have to meet set standards for bycatch and turtle-safe practices to earn the right to label their products

as such. This scheme could provide both more environmentally sound practices and a profitable market for the shrimpers.

However, while this may be an environmentally desirable result, eco-labels could run into conflict with the WTO. Many countries, particularly

developing ones, claim eco-labels constitute significant barriers to trade. The labels are to be reviewed in the Doha round of WTO negotiations,

scheduled to be completed in 2005 � although member countries generally agree that negotiations cannot be concluded by then.

Whatever the solution, for the Louisiana shrimpers it will have to come soon. The impacts on the gulf community are hard to ignore: The economy here

is almost entirely dependent on the shrimping industry. In Curole’s town, the three locally owned banks are on the verge of collapse, the two major

hardware stores are no longer allowing charge accounts as they always have in the past, and the restaurants are in trouble because no one can afford to eat out. Shrimp here is as much a culture as a livelihood, and while shrimpers can envision modifications to their practices, a Louisiana without

shrimp seems nearly impossible to imagine.

“It’s not only a financial thing,” Curole explained. “It’s a heritage. It’s something their fathers did, their grandfathers did, five or six generations.”

Curole serves as vice president of the Ladies of Lafourche Shrimpers Inc. She and a number of other women in her community formed the group last

February. Their original intent was simply to form a support group, but they quickly realized they would have to take action.

“We got tired of sitting around watching our husbands be miserable and figured there was something we could do, and we’ve never looked back,” said Curole.

As Curole stood up to speak at the Fishermen’s Forum in Isla Mujeres, the factors that set her apart from the crowd were readily apparent: She was a

woman in a room of mostly men, a shrimper in a room of mostly fishers, an American in a room of Mexicans, Chileans, Portuguese, and Canadians.

But as she began to speak in her Cajun-cadenced English, it became clear that her story was like all the others: She told of a traditional way of life being quickly subsumed by international corporations that stoke an unsustainable consumer culture by selling their products at unnaturally low

prices that do not reflect their true cost to communities and ecosystems worldwide.

Rebecca Robbins is a freelance writer living in the San Francisco Bay Area and attending U.C. Hastings College of the Law. She has written for the

Environment Program of the International Forum on Globalization (IFG) on trade and environment. She recently traveled to Cancun to attend the WTO

meeting.

Send comments to feedback@enn.com.

Related Links

World Rainforest Movement

Mangrove Action Project

Oceana
FTAA

WTO

Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations report on Cancun meeting

CATO Institute Center for Trade Policy Studies

Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (Vandana Shiva)

American Seafood Distributor’s Association

Source: Environmental News Network

From Dr. Michael Skladany

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

e-mail: mskladany@iatp.org

—————————————-

[PraxisNews]

US shrimpers to seek duties on rising imports

New Age, December 14, 2–3. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Shrimpers in the southern United States will soon ask the Bush administration to slap duties on shrimp shipments from Thailand, Vietnam, China and possibly elsewhere to stem fast-growing imports of the shellfish, a US industry official said Friday.

“We are filing by the end of the year” for punitive duties, said Deborah Regan, spokeswoman for the Southern Shrimp Alliance.

The industry group, representing shrimpers in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas, complain several countries have flooded the US market with pond-raised shrimp at below-market prices.

The imports eliminated more than 200,000 American jobs from 2000 to 2002, Regan said.

She said imports from Thailand, China and Vietnam�the top three shrimp exporters to the United States would be included in a petition to be filed with the US Commerce Department by Dec 31.

She left open the possibility other countries would be targeted.

Industry estimates put total imports at $5 billion to $6 billion annually in the United States. Shrimp became the top- selling seafood in the United States last year, overtaking tuna, the longtime king.

The Bush administration will be asked to place the duties as the 2004 US presidential and congressional elections come into view. The eight Southern states are important to Republican political aspirations.

Foreign interests, as well as US shrimp distributors, wholesalers and restaurants, already are gearing up to fend off any duties.

Wally Stevens, president of the Boston-based American Seafood Distributors Association, said in a telephone interview it was less expensive to produce pond-raised foreign shrimp than to catch American wild shrimp.

“It �s the difference between technology versus hunting. It �s very, very difficult for a hunted resource to compete with a manufactured resource,” Stevens said.

The United States is too cold for large-scale shrimp farming, Stevens said, especially since countries with warmer climates can produce two or three crops a year.

Stevens said that to compete, the American shrimp industry should promote the “distinct characteristics and uniqueness” of wild-caught shrimp.

Regan countered that the Southern Shrimp Alliance was waging a new marketing campaign, but “that’s not going to stop the flood of unfair trade.”

From: Zakir Kibria

EUROPE
The UK

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE FOUNDATION News Release

Cooking with a conscience

Cooking with a conscience this Christmas: celebrity chef joins environmental group to combat environmental and human rights impacts of prawn production.

Embargo: London, 00:01 19th December 2003: The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has been joined by TV chef Ken Hom to demand an end to the widespread human rights and environmental abuses associated with the prawn (or shrimp) industry. EJF today publishes a Consumer Guide to Prawns, highlighting these abuses and how consumers can avoid promoting them with their purchases.

“People have been murdered in 11 countries in conflict linked to prawn farming. The environment has been degraded and human rights have been abused to bring us this luxury food product,” said Ken Hom, who has recorded a two minute video message highlighting these abuses.

Prawn fisheries alone are responsible for one-third of the world’s discarded catch, despite producing just 2% of global seafood. “150,000 marine turtles are killed by prawn trawlers every year” said Ken Hom.

The EJF campaign for sustainable, socially equitable prawn production has received the support of a broad array of academics, non-governmental organisations and politicians, yet the response from retailers and importers has failed to match this.

“Whilst some retailers and importers in the UK have shown genuine willingness to address negative impacts of prawn production, others have expressed no concern whatsoever, even though the human rights and environmental abuses associated with this industry are widespread and serious. People are becoming poorer and hungrier as a direct consequence of Western demand for prawns,” said Steve Trent, Director of EJF.

“With sales of US$50-60 billion, prawn farming is big business, but the true cost is paid by the poor and vulnerable in developing world countries where prawns are farmed, while prawn trawling is depleting fish stocks, damaging marine environments and wiping out endangered wildlife” continued Trent.

That consumers currently have little way of knowing how their prawns have been produced has prompted EJF to produce its new consumer guide, available free online at EJF’s website, where celebrity messages supporting the campaign and extensive background research can also be viewed.

“Consumers have a right to know what impacts their purchasing decisions have. In the case of prawns it can literally be the choice between a sustainable foodstuff and one which has been responsible for environmental destruction and staggering social impacts,” said Dr Mike Shanahan of EJF, continuing, “Two years of research and field investigations by EJF have shown that the prawn industry has at times been associated with land seizure and displacement of tens of thousands of people; pollution of agricultural land and drinking water supplies with chemicals and salt; violence and intimidation of local people; official corruption and profiteering; unsustainable and highly destructive fishing practices; endangerment of wild species and a host of other abuses”.

These problems are linked to the production of farmed or trawled warm-water prawns, whose consumption in the UK rises during the Christmas party season. “We are asking consumers to think about the true price of the prawns on their plate, and to take them off the menu if they cannot be certain that their production has not entailed ecological impacts or human rights abuses.” said Dr Mike Shanahan of EJF.

“Supermarkets must insist, ensure and show consumers that none of the prawns they have for sale are causing environmental degradation or leading to human rights abuses” concluded Steve Trent.

For further information, copies of the consumer guide, published reports or celebrity video message, contact, Steve Trent 07974925659 , strent@ejfoundation.org  or Dr Mike Shanahan + 44 (0) 20 7359 0440. Materials can also be downloaded directly fromwww.ejfoundation.org

NOTES TO EDITORS

The terms prawn and shrimp are often used interchangeably.

STORIES/ISSUES
Note: Does anyone have info on omega 6s in fish from grains and vegetables in their diet?

Peas may be used as feed more often

this document web posted: Friday December 12, 2003 20031211p15

By Sean Pratt, Saskatoon newsroom

includes:

Pea marketers have to use their heads to figure out how to sell more product

to creatures with tails. That was the message two University of Saskatchewan feed researchers delivered at the Processing for Profit conference held in Saskatoon Dec. 3. They said there is a vast and largely untapped potential for peas in hog diets and in the booming aquaculture industry.

Murray Drew, associate professor of animal and poultry science at the U of S, encouraged processors to consider manufacturing a pea protein concentrate suitable for farmed fish.

“The aquaculture industry is going to pass the beef industry sometime between

2010 and 2015 in terms of the amount of protein that it actually produces,” he

said. By the time it takes to leapfrog from fourth to third spot in the global protein ranks, the fish industry will require three times as much feed as it consumes now. A typical salmon grower diet is 50 percent fish meal and 15 percent fish oil, but the supply of these ocean ingredients is inconsistent.

By 2009, aquaculture will use all the available supplies of fish oil. The annual supply of fish meal and oil is around 6.5 million and 1.1 million tones respectively. During the last El Nino those levels dropped by about one-third each, causing huge fluctuations in input costs. Fish farmers turned to alternative protein sources such as soybean and corn gluten meal, but those two products hurt fish growth when used at high concentrations. Producers need a broader spectrum of plant-based protein substitutes to mix in with their soybean, corn and fish meal ingredients.

From Anne Mosness

Go Wild Consumer Education Campaign

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Email: Institute: mosnessiatp@aol.com

Fish/list serves: eatwildfish@aol.com

—————————————-

UNITED NATIONS HORROR SHOW:

Covering one mistake with another one is more than stupid !

ITS CRIMINAL !

“Green light” for GM trees

Wednesday 10 December 2003, 9:27 Makka Time, 6:27 GMT

UN diplomats have reached an agreement in principle on Tuesday to include genetically-modified trees in forests planted for the specific

purpose of soaking up greenhouse gases.

The agreement made at an Environmental summit in Milan will allow scientists to develop fast-growing trees with a maximized capability

of storing carbon dioxide, one of the gases thought likely to be responsible for the heating of the earth’s atmosphere.

Under the terms of the UN Kyoto Protocol on global warming, rich countries will be able to plant forests in the developing world and offset the amount of gas absorbed against their own greenhouse emissions.

The agreement in principle was scheduled to be sent to environment ministers at a meeting of the 180-nation UN Framework Convention on

Climate Change in Milan.

Draft plan

As part of the compromise draft plan, countries who have proposed to plant genetically-modified forests must carry out detailed risk assessments and avoid the planting of what are known as invasive species trees – those that drive out species native to the region.

An Italian spokesman, Aldo Iacomelli, said the agreement was thrashed out by the German and Brazilian co-presidents of the conference. Environmental groups have been campaigning against such an extension of biotechnology. And scientists say that growing trees is only a temporary solution to the CO2 buildup.

Greenpeace and the WWF environmental groups, who had opposed GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in Kyoto, said the forest rules were

“two steps forward, one step back”.

The forest deal was the last to define the mechanisms of Kyoto. Remaining issues include a fund to help developing nations adapt to the feared impact of global warming, ranging from desertification to the melting of polar icecaps.

Under Kyoto, rich nations will be allowed to store up to one percent of their annual emissions of carbon dioxide in such forest sinks. Kyoto seeks to cut rich countries’ emissions of carbon dioxide by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

The agreement has to be ratified by Russia before going into effect, and delegates were hoping that an agreement on forest carbon sinks would persuade Russia to stop dragging its feet over the agreement.The Kyoto protocol was severely limited by the walkout in 2001 of the United States, the world’s biggest polluter.

SOURCE: www.english.aljazeera.net

From: “ECOTERRA Intl.”

ANNOUNCEMENTS
A Wetlands Map From Space

On 20 November the European Space Agency (ESA) formally began a project to map wetlands from space, providing data on around 50 sites in 21 countries worldwide. ESA’s new $1 million Globwetland project is producing satellite-derived and geo-referenced products including inventory maps and digital elevation models of wetlands and the surrounding catchment areas. These products are intended to aid local and national authorities in fulfilling their Ramsar obligations, and should also function as a helpful tool for wetland managers and scientific researchers. More information is

available from the ESA’s press release, today, the text of which has been reprinted on our Web site as well.

From: PECK Dwight – Ramsar peck@ramsar.org

—————————————-

People, Projects, Papers, and Places

linked to mangrove management

The International Society of Mangrove Ecosystems, the implemntors of the

ITTO funded Global Mangrove Database and Information System (GLOMIS) is

about to release the second in the series of GLOMIS CDs. These CDs contain

the current contents of the database, (People, Projects, Papers, and Places

linked to mangrove management and research – over 7,000 entries)as well as

ancillary mangrove related materials.

We had an overwhelming response to the first CD and we expect the same this

time round. Please visit the GLOMIS website and send your e-mail request

for copies of the CD direct to the GLOMIS regional centres with your mailing

address. If you are aware of any mangrove workers who do not have access to

the web, please send their mailing details and we will send them a late end

of year present!!

Thank you for your time and the seasons best wishes

Prof Chris Gordon Co-ordinator GLOMIS

From: “Prof. Chris Gordon”

—————————————-

Call for NGO/IPO participation in the 7th Conference of Parties (COP-7) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD)

When and Where: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 9th-20th

Number of funded places: 1 non-governmental organization (NGO)/ Indigenous Peoples organization (IPO) representatives from developing countries in each of the following regions: Middle East, Oceania, Latin America, Africa, Asia, CIS. This may be expanded to two, funding dependant.

Deadline to apply: December 8th, 2003

The NGO community around the Convention on Biological Diversity has received funds to support NGO/IPO representatives to attend COP 7. Seventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties will focus on the issues of biodiversity in mountain ecosystems, the role of protected areas in the preservation of

biological diversity and the transfer of technology and technology cooperation. In addition to these, the COP will also address organizational matters, will review reports from subsidiary bodies, the financial mechanism and the Executive Secretary, and will review the implementation of the

programme of work. For information on this meeting please see www.biodiv.org

One person from each region will be sponsored to participate, including airfare, hotel and per diem. Again, this may be expanded to two — funding dependent.

Selected representatives must be able to participate in an organizational meeting on Sunday February 8th and attend the entire 2 week negotiation. Selected participants also must also write a short summary of their

experiences .

For indigenous peoples who apply, there is the possibility of extra funding to attend the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) in Sabah (For information contact Jannie Lasimbang, AIPP Foundation Secretariat at aipp@loxinfo.co.th ). For representatives who follow the Cartagena Protocol, there is also the possibility of extended funding to attend the first MOP,

which is immediately following COP 7.

CONTACTS:

General: Jessica Dempsey jdempsey@interchange.ubc.ca

Oceania: Sandy Gauntlett sandygauntlett@hotmail.com

Middle East: Elsa Sattout elsa@intracom.net.lb

Africa: Laurent Ntahuga laurntahuga@yahoo.com

Asia: Ashish Kothari ashishkothari@vsnl.com

CIS: Andrei Laletin andrei@santa.krs.ru

Latin America: Isaac Rojas gavitza@racsa.co.cr

From: jessica dempsey

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
Waterbirds conference planned for April 2004

“Waterbirds Around the World is the first

conference to focus entirely on all major themes and developments related to the global conservation of waterbird flyways during their full annual cycle: breeding areas, stop-over sites and wintering areas.

It will address the achievements of the last 40-50 years and consider the need for initiatives to stimulate future conservation, research and management, not only of the world’s migratory waterbird flyways, but also of threatened non-migratory pecies” (from the brochure). This “global review of the conservation, management and research of the world’s major flyways” will be organized by Wetlands International and hosted in Edinburgh, UK, 3-8 April 2003 by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Scottish Natural Heritage of the UK and the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, with the US Fish and Wildlife Service serving as co-chair and the sponsorship of a large number of other organizations, including the Ramsar Convention. For further information about the conference, side events, and excursions, and the application forms, visit the Wetlands International Web site, or write to the Conference Secretary General, Dr Gerard C. Boere, International Programme Director,  gerard.boere@wetlands.org .

From: Dwight Peck dwight.peck@bluewin.ch

—————————————-

NGOs CSD 12 briefing note and Call for input into NGO Major Groups paper for CSD 12

Dear colleagues,

On 19 April 2004, the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) will meet for the 12th time. This meeting is the first using the new format for the Commission as agreed at CSD-11. During this session, governments and major group representatives will meet to analyse progress made in implementing the outcomes of Rio UNCED 1992 and Johannesburg WSSD 2002 on the specific themes of Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements. In 2005, during CSD 13, policy initiatives will be negotiated on the basis of the analysis as discussed during this 12th session.

Three NGO network-organisations in their role as facilitators of the Sustainable Development Issues Network (ANPED, the Northern Alliance for Sustainability, Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI) and the Third World Network) have agreed with the Bureau of the CSD and the UN Secretariat to facilitate the input from the NGO major group.

NGOs are invited to fully participate in the official session of the CSD in oral and written form. Individual NGOs are invited to submit short background papers on their own title and responsibility and to contribute to the writing of a Major Group Discussion Paper. Major Groups are given 4 pre-scheduled inputs during the intergovernmental meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development, as well as the ability to intervene in the discussions in the official working groups, throughout the full two weeks (on the chair�s discretion). We refer you to the �Guidelines for Major Groups� as available on the UN CSD website for further information on the schedule of the working groups.

These guidelines can be found at:

UN.ORG

From: “MAP / S.E. Asia” mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

CALL FOR PAPERS
The Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP)

The Commons in an age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities

Oaxaca, México, 9-13 August 2004

The theme and title for the conference is “The Commons in an age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities�. As such, IASCP 2004 seeks to stimulate further discussion upon many of the themes that were raised during the 2002 conference in Zimbabwe, where “Globalisation� was the

central focus.

Ten sub-themes for the conference have been suggested below. The goal is to foster deeper discussions across all themes, including the analysis of institutional frameworks, the importance and influence of markets and public policy-making, and the interrelationships between policies and institutions at local, regional, national and international levels within the context of

global transition.

Please note that broader papers covering topics that cut across more than one of the ten conference sub-themes are also welcome.

Sub-Themes

2.1 Indigenous Peoples and Common Resources.

2.2 Environmental Services and Common Resources.

2.3 Governance, Conflict and Institutional Reform

2.4 Conservation Policy and Commons Management.

2.5 Contemporary Analytical Tools and Theoretical Questions

2.6 The Impacts of Geographic Information Technologies and Environmental

Information on the Commons

2.7 Markets and Common Resources.

2.8 The New Global Commons.

2.9 Globalization, Culture, Identity and the Commons

2.10 Demographic Change and Commons Management

From: Alex de Sherbinin adesherbinin@ciesin.columbia.edu

AQUACULTURE CORNER
10/22/03

Michael Milstein, Newhouse News Service

Source: CLEAVLAND.COM

Chilean Salmon Seized

European countries this year seized dozens of tons of farmed salmon from Chile found to be contaminated with malachite green, a fabric dye banned in the United States since 1991 and suspected of causing cancer.

But the United States imports thousands of tons of salmon from Chile without testing for malachite green, which also acts as a fungicide, and other chemicals used at foreign fish farms.

It is unclear whether salmon tainted with such compounds is entering U.S. markets. Earlier this year, however, Canadian inspectors found malachite green in smoked salmon they believe was first imported to the United States and packaged here. And Costco, which annually sells more than 30 million pounds of mostly Chilean farmed salmon, said recently that it soon will begin screening for the fungicide.

But the FDA tests no incoming salmon for the fungicide.

And other drugs, some of them antibiotics familiar for their human application, might be slipping through. The FDA does not test salmon for oxytetracycline, an antibiotic, although authorities in Japan recently seized Chilean salmon with excessively high levels of it.

And it conducts no testing for ivermectin, ……

…… FDA has identified more than 30 drugs used in foreign aquaculture,

……

See link for full article.

From: Dr. Michael Skladany

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

e-mail: mskladany@iatp.org

—————————————-

Oregonian

Salmon farming must change; we have a lot to lose

The escape of Atlantic salmon into Northwest waters could cripple the

region’s iconic wild fish

12/07/03

GREG HIGGINS

Here in the Pacific Northwest we revere our salmon as the icon of our grand landscape and heritage. It’s impossible to separate these great fish from our culture.

Now the rapid growth of the salmon-farming industry during the past two decades poses significant threats to the health of our cherished wild salmon. Farm-raised salmon have flooded markets with inexpensive fish available fresh year ’round. While these fish supply us with a steady source of high Omega-3 protein, what’s the real price of this glut of industrial salmon?

Norway’s ecological plight and struggle, well reported by Michael Milstein in The Oregonian last Sunday, illustrates the potential problems: Disease.

Pollution. Escaped farm fish.

Our situation could be worse because we’re dealing with Atlantic salmon escapism here, a nonnative species. Once in the wild these fattened-up fish breed and compete against stressed wild Pacific populations for food and spawning grounds.

Yet escapes of farm-raised fish are common, a Canadian audit has found. More than half a million Atlantics have escaped in the Puget Sound since 1991. They’ve been documented in 79 rivers in British Columbia. Commercial fishers have caught Atlantic escapees all the way back to 1987 –

four years before the first reported escape from a British Columbia salmon farm, says a Canadian professor. John Volpe, assistant professor of fisheries ecology at the University of Alberta, researches Atlantic salmon that have escaped and are spawning in the wild. Three years ago, Volpe found that more than 10,000 Atlantics were captured by commercial fishermen in the Johnstone Strait off northern Vancouver Island.

That same year 81 Atlantics were caught in Alaskan waters, a dramatic show of the escaped salmon’s ability to travel for miles. Volpe’s crew has documented juvenile Atlantics in seven rivers on Vancouver Island — and they’ve only surveyed less than 1 percent of that island’s rivers. They’ve also found the Atlantic salmon’s later breeding cycle allows them to superimpose their eggs over those of threatened native salmon and steelhead populations.

Despite the claims of the salmon aquaculturalists, it’s apparent escaped farm-raised salmon are able to range widely, feed predatorily and reproduce in our waters. Hidden costs of salmon farms In the 1980s there were several unsuccessful attempts to establish salmon farms on the Oregon coast. The state’s lack of large sheltered bays and fiords limits the opportunities for salmon farming here. Right now the only farming permitted is hatchery programs to restore wild salmon. Still, farms are legal in Washington, and Oregon’s coastal communities are hurting for jobs.

Americans consume about 70,000 tons of farm-raised salmon annually — from Washington, Maine, British Columbia, Chile and Norway. Clearly our food-buying habits have a huge impact on other nations as well. This scale of production creates substantial pressures on the local ecosystems. We need to consider the real cost of farm-raised salmon before we further embrace its rapid growth in our precious waters. Short-term gains in jobs and development must be balanced against loss of resources and environmental degradation. Then we’ll understand the real price of open-pen salmon farming.

Many coastal areas have viable salmon fisheries, and our priority should be the maintenance and restoration of those historic runs. Fundamental changes are needed in the process of salmon farming and its regulation. The existing floating, open pens transfer disease to wild stocks, release untreated sewage into bays and estuaries, deplete global feed-fish stocks, disperse antibiotics into waters and conflict with migratory routes of wild fish. Sound alternatives Alternative land-based and closed systems are available to help eliminate these problems. On-shore and floating models of closed systems ensure waste-water quality is high.

On-shore systems can be ponds or large tanks pumped full of fresh seawater, circulated, filtered and returned to the ocean as clean as before. This process is used to raise abalone in California and turbot in Chile. The floating closed system uses a similar process. These systems cost more to build and maintain, but they demonstrate the true cost of farming large carnivorous fish. Turbot, catfish, tilapia and other species are produced in similar systems.

Clearly a large market and need for aquaculture salmon exists. We need to learn from Norway’s mistakes and pay the real cost of farm-raised fish. So when you shop for salmon, remember to cast your vote for wild fish. Ask for fresh wild chinook and sockeye in season. During the winter months, ask your fish vendor for F.A.S. — frozen-at-sea — salmon. You’ll be supporting our fishing communities and fisheries.

We might find it’s our celebrated wild chinook that’s the real bargain!

From: mskladany@iatp.org

AROUND THE CORNER
Letter from Burma

We were among the participants to IHOF # 8 held in Cambodia in August this year. It’s a rare chance of meeting and exchanging views, issues and problems which cannot be brought up and resolve by one’s community. It’s a cut across issues with no boundaries limited. Everyone living and still depending on bio-diversity are in fact all involved in taking the responsibility to conservation and development and are, despite going in different languages of our own, we speak the same language, we talk about the same ol’ theme we all are facing in this world regarding the environmental hardships and most importantly on loss of precious mangrove stands of the world and its consequences from ignoring it.

Though we can be seen as talking particularly about mangroves it covers all ecology related to it and that human environment is most important to take into serious consideration when we really want to talk about conserving the natural environment with the real and active participation of the communities which are relying on mangrove ecology.

We were fortunate to exchange and stress one’s own country’s experience and did gain knowledge in finding out some solution if not a panacea. In our opinion we firmly belief that a W/Shop of such should be encouraged and bring as many stakeholders into it (in our IHOF# 8 we could bring in gender and related issues, which are hardly brought up to the table to discuss among countires having different backgrounds), so that the environmental concerns of our planet earth be addressed.

We shared our experience gained in IHOF as we headed along our way back in fishing communities. Especially we are trying to help bring out the pros and cons of interelated issues of mangroves with others: the linkages b/w natural resource and human resource. There is still a gap missing in most people’s mind on the crucial relation of “landscape and lifespace” or “landscape versus Lifespace” and this has to be widely shared and disseminated to all walks of life of people. It’s our responsibility to share this “seriously” and a must to do so to save our planet earth and to keep on GREEN for the sake of our future generations.

Mangroves Friends of MAP

From: “KPO”

—————————————-

DO OCEAN PLANETS EXIST?

A recent issue of New Scientist features the search for planets whose surfaces may consist entirely of water. Researchers at the University of Nantes and the University of Paris South (France), as well as the California Institute of Technology and the University of Washington (USA) believe that the possibility of ocean planets is very likely. They also anticipate that forms of life may exist in such oceans.

—SOURCE: The Big Blue, New Scientist, November 15, 2003, www.newsicentist.com

From: “Susan Altman”

Late Friday News, 128th Ed., 18 Nov 2003

Dear Friends,

This is the 128th Edition of the Late Friday News. Please start out your new year by ordering a MAP Children’s Art 2004 Calendar! MAP needs your support today for the work we will be doing next year!
Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 128th Edition, 18 November 2003
FEATURE STORY
WORLD FISHERIES DAY NOVEMBER 21

MAP WORKS
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves
SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours MAP voted “Best of the Best”

AFRICA
Senegal
Project to Conserve Mangroves & Related Birdlife

Nigeria
THE COMMISSIONING OF KALIO-AMA INTEGRATED AQUACULTURE PROJECT
ALERT! SHELL and US AID JOIN FORCES TO PROMOTE “SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT” IN NIGER DELTA

ASIA
S.E. ASIA
Indonesia
Indonesian Navy may have overeacted by sinking Thai boat, says Thaksin

Burma
Burmese forests vanishing

S. ASIA
India
Praxis journal: a forum for majority world solidarity

Bangladesh
India, Bangladesh to count tigers jointly
7 fish farm owners killed in 12 days
Conserve bio-diversity of the Sundarbans

Sri Lanka
The US Tropical Forestry Conservation Act, a question of sovereignty

East Asia
China
Mai Po Mangrove Reserve

OCEANIA
Australia
Prawn farm receives international accreditation

LATIN AMERICA
Brazil
Brazil has two specific laws on mangroves
Meeting debates crab mortality in mangroves on the State of Bahia.
New Conservation area will protect coast and mangrove of the Jequitinhonha river

Ecuador
COMMUNITY TAKES DOWN WALLS OF ILLEGAL SHRIMPFARM

STORIES/ISSUES
Russia’s nuclear fish threat – Scottish wild salmon stock at risk

ANNOUNCEMENTS
UNEP Champions of the Earth Award
GPA Outreach Newsletter

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
Wetlands and Agriculture
FISHING DOWN & FARMING UP?
Book On Integrated River Basin Management
NAYLOR’S REPORT ON SALMON AQUACULTURE FEATURED BY SEASPAN
Community Forestry Search Engine

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Mesh Flesh: Fish Farms and Environment/Equity Issues

FEATURE STORY
WORLD FISHERIES DAY NOVEMBER 21

Once again the World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) is getting ready to observe World Fisheries Day on November 21. The fishing communities and the fisheries are in great peril all over the World. The depletion of fishing grounds continues to increase due to 35000 huge Industrial fleets and Factory Fleets in the World, Pollution through Oil Exploration, Dumping of Industrial Waste, Nuclear Waste & Toxic Materials into the sea. The Industrial Aquaculture and Destructive Gears, over fishing and overcapacity are further aggravating the problem. Those who do the fishing for commercial purposes and for profiteering are doing all these destructions. They do all these at the expense of environmental destruction, and displacement of millions of traditional fishing communities that depend on fishing for livelihood.

The fishing communities that depend on fishing for livelihood are not only displaced, but they are also losing their fishing rights all over the World. 20000 fisher people are displaced from Jambudwip, an island in India in the name of protecting the forest and developing Eco-tourism. Thousands of fisher people are facing displacement from 21 islands in Ramnad, India. The fisher people in Srilanka are being displaced by the Joint Ventures, Foreign fishing vessels. In the name of protecting the territory, every day innocent fisher people are jailed in Srilanka, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The Eel collectors with hands of France are not recognized as professional fisher people. The Galatian Women of Spain, who pick up oysters with their hands, are fighting for their rights as professional fisher women. The artisanal fisher people in South Africa are fighting for their fishing rights, lost due to ITQ. The small fisher people, artisanal fisher people all over the World particularly, in Pakistan, India, the Philippines, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Martinique, Mauritania, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Benin, Guinea, Madagascar, Pacific, Spain, France, Guadeloupe, and Canada belonging to the WFFP, are fighting for survival and the fishing rights.

Undoubtedly, the truth is that the World Fisheries can survive only through small ones. The USA and the EU must stop giving subsidies to the 35000 industrial factory ships and the industrial aquaculture in the World. We have to resist this basic approach of the WTO, World Bank and Globalization. The only way we can stop this profiteering and destruction is by campaigning for a change of law: THE FISHING COMMUNITIES THAT DEPEND ON FISHING FOR LIVELIHOOD SHOULD OWN AND MANAGE WATER BODIES AND FISH RESOURCES. THE LIFE OF THE PLANET AND THE DEPENDENT HEALTH OF THE HUMANITY MUST NOT BE SACRIFICED BY THE GREED OF A FEW. In order to achieve this please start working out a fisheries policy by each WFFP member organization like the one worked out by the National Fisheries Solidarity of Srilanka, as a preparation for the General Assembly due to be held in Kenya.

World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) Secretariat, Valiathura, Thiruvananthapuram-695008, India. Fax/Tel: (91) 471 2501 376, Tel: 2505216, Email: nff@vsnl.com , Web: www.wffp.org .

From Thomas Kocherry “wffp /nff”

MAP WORKS
ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery caf of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

========================================

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net  for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling for orders in the US and Canada, $14 abroad.

========================================

Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. GROUNDS FOR CHANGE

You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair Trade Federation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net

=====================================

Work-Study Tours In the Mangroves

MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT’S
SPIRIT OF THAILAND COASTAL RESOURCES PROGRAM
An experiential study of Thailand’s coastal resources
And the people who depend on them

A new two-week experiential ecology program is beginning its first season this summer, providing an opportunity to experience Thailand from coast to coast. A group of up to 16 people will begin their experience with a tour of the canals of Bangkok, the capital city before visiting the Wildlife Fund of Thailand, the national WWF affiliate.

The group will next travel to Thailand’s first established coastal national park, Khao Sam Roi Yot Marine National Park on the Gulf of Thailand to observe marine and freshwater wetlands areas as well as beautiful beaches and not quite so beautiful prawn farms.

By overnight sleeper train the group will cross the country to Trang Province on the Andaman Sea. Here you will meet with representatives of two different types of NGOs: the international organization Mangrove Action Project, and the grass-roots NGO Yadfon, both of which are working in different ways to protect Thailand’s coastal resources while improving the lives of the local people who depend on coastal resources for their livelihood.

From Trang you travel by bus to the island province of Phuket, the historical center of maritime activities in ancient Thailand. Here you will visit the extensive operations of the Phuket Marine Biological Center.

Finally, the group will spend three days on a small island located in famous Phang Nga Bay, populated by traditional fisherfolk. You will actually live in the villages with the local people as you learn about and participate in their daily activities before returning to the international airport at Phuket.

Following the Mangrove Action Project program there will be an optional trip offered. For those interested in an additional Eco-tourism adventure, a sea kayak trip in Phang Nga Bay to travel by canoe through the lush mangrove forest and the sea caves of this beautiful region. This part of the trip will be arranged with the award winning John Gray Sea Canoe.

For More Information, please contact “Lamar Robert” lamar@thailand.com

======
MAP Volunteer Work Study/Eco-Tour Proposed for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

A short mangrove-replanting project on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is being considered for the month of June or July, 2004. Depending upon interest and numbers of volunteers, this tour will help restore degraded mangroves and help rescue or care for threatened baby sea turtles. MAP will be co-sponsoring this tour with the local NGO, SAVE in Mexico. At least 10 volunteers are needed to firm up plans for this tour.

For more information, please contact Alfredo Quarto at mangroveap@olympus.net

=====================================

John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

MAP encourages anyone who wishes to sea kayak in Thailand to use environmentally responsible guides, and supports JGSC as the best of the best. we are being offered a 20% contribution. the customer booking a tour must indicate that they saw the ad on MAP’s website in order for MAP to receive a commission from “JOHN GRAY’S SEACANOE”.

John Gray’s SeaCanoe delivers high-quality tropical eco-tourism adventures guaranteed to expand your awareness. Lifelong waterman, wildlife rehabber and environmentalist John “Caveman” Gray started tropical kayaking in 1983, bringing ancient Hawaiian natural harmony to modern times. Lava sea caves highlighted Gray’s Hawai’i trips, and the 1985 “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” documentary won an Emmy, the first of many Awards. In 1999, National Geographic Adventure named Caveman’s SeaCanoe Vietnam itineraries a World Top 25 Adventure.
Phuket Weather
Apr 09, 2003 – 14:50 GMT
partly cloudy 32�C
Humid.: 70 %
� asianhotelsdirect

Spreading the seeds of conservation to South-East Asia, Gray explored Phang Nga’s limestone islands in January 1989. Caveman shared his discoveries with Phuket Thai’s, created an experimental Ecotourism laboratory called SeaCanoeT and Phuket’s “Low Volume, High Quality” legend was born. Today, 1,000s visit Phang Nga caves daily with so many “SeaCanoe” companies that Caveman formed John Gray’s Sea CanoeT to clear market confusion. John hates the name, but it’s obvious where Caveman’s creative Labor of Love brings Magic to just a few.

Every trip is your own documentary combining kayaking, nature, culture, great food and re-creation. The new
“Hongs by Starlight” trip avoids daytime crowds and amplifies the serenity of early years. “The Nature Game”T is an exciting new Ecotourism concept enhancing your perspectives, adding trip value, offering new personal insights and highlighting our guides’ English, training and experience.

For More Details: John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact  info@johngray-seacanoe.com . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

AFRICA
Senegal

Project to Conserve Mangroves & Related Birdlife

Note: The NGO, West African Association for Marine Environment (WAAME,) has sent this article from Senegal concerning a roject being funded by Ramsar to help conserve both mangroves and associated threatened bird species in Senegal and Gambia.

This Rehabilitation Project of mangrove settlements and sensitization on birds in cross-border wetlands of Niumi (The Gambia) and Saloum (Senegal) aims at “contributing to the rehabilitation of fragile mangrove dwellings and sensitisation on birds in cross-border wetlands”

It is initiated in the two twin surfaces of Niumi and Saloum, which are, protected areas. Constraints related to population growth coupled with lack of rain (30% reduction) have been noticed. There are serious threats on coastal and marine wetlands with fragile ecosystems of mangrove which ecological and socio economic roles remain important. On June 2, 2001, Gambia and Senegal signed a protocol of agreement on cross-border management of protected surfaces in Djinack. This present project is in line with that dynamics ” of sub-regional integration and harmonization about sustainable management policies of cross-border wetlands ”

The FPS support, through sensitization of different actors and partners will contribute to a management in the two protected areas. Besides, the different forms of durable exploitation (traditional and/or modern) of resources will bring local producers and those of formations in the two protected areas and there exchange visits being of paramount importance, then great care will be granted to women.
In front of the degradation of natural resources due to the combination of anthropologic and naturals factors, then it becomes necessary to sensitize the different levels of the population. Support destined to population will be done by multiple “success stories” on the preservation of local, national and cross-border wetlands initiative by different actors in protected surfaces through sensitisation and exchanges;
The project will be based in Foundiougne (Senegal). The main beneficiaries are young people through exchange activities for mangrove reforestation and the rehabilitation of settlements; students in the frame of environmental education, local producers (fishermen, mangrove pole cutters etc.) With also great care for women’s activities (oyster and shell gathering, transforming etc.)
The project follow up will be taken on by the management committee in each of the two countries and it will contribute to the implementation of the Ramsar strategic plan 1997-2002 and to the achievement of its several stated objectives�

From: “waame”

Nigeria
THE COMMISSIONING OF KALIO-AMA INTEGRATED AQUACULTURE PROJECT,OKIRIKA L.G.A. AND IWOKIRI INTEGRATED MANGROVE/ RAINFOREST RESOURCE CENTER AT BOLO IN OGU/BOLO L.G.A. AND THE HOSTING OF AN INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP WITH THE THEME “COASTAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT” NOW RESCHEDULED FOR 18TH,19TH AND 20TH DEC. 2003.

From: AKIE HART
iwomgtprjt2003@yahoo.com

=====================================

ALERT! SHELL and US AID JOIN FORCES TO PROMOTE “SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT” IN NIGER DELTA

Note: This report on Shell/ US-Aid support of shrimp export industry from Niger Delta is rather alarming! Most likely, this signifies a Shell/US AID support for the shrimp aquaculture industry in Niger Delta. This could have dire consequences for the already threatened mangroves and the impoverished coastal fishing communities.

In a message dated 11/14/2003 9:20:28 AM Eastern Standard Time, AOL News writes:

USAID and Shell Form Partnership to Launch $20 Million Nigerian Development Project

LONDON, Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (Shell) today announced they are to be partners in a $20 million sustainable development project in Nigeria….

For the full text of this story, click here.

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USAID and Shell Form Partnership to Launch $20 Million Nigerian Development Project

LONDON, Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (Shell) today announced they are to be partners in a $20 million sustainable development project in Nigeria.

The agreement was announced in Washington DC by Andrew S. Natsios, USAID Administrator, and Sir Philip Watts, Chairman of the Committee of Managing Directors of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies.

The partnership is the largest so far under USAID’s new business model, the Global Development Alliance, which promotes public-private alliances to implement sustainable development programmes around the world. By partnering with the private sector, developing country governments and non-governmental organizations, USAID is able to extend its reach and effectiveness in responding to new global challenges.

Shell will contribute some $15 million over the next five years to the partnership and USAID will contribute $5 million. The partnership’s programmes will aim to help build capacity and opportunity for Nigerians in the strategic areas of agriculture, health, and small and medium size enterprise.

USAID and Shell plan to focus their work on food security through a cassava cultivation support programme; the prevention of malaria; and supporting the export shrimp industry.

The cassava project is expected to be the first to commence, with start-up by the end of 2003. Its aim is to provide greater income for cassava farmers in 11 Nigerian states. The programme will improve technology transfer to address cassava mosaic disease and to develop cassava processing. It will also help identify further commercial markets within industry for cassava, such as ethanol production, livestock feed and use in baking. In addition to being a staple food, starch from cassava is already used in industries including textile manufacturing.

The cassava project will be implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan, an international agricultural research centre which has successfully implemented USAID and other cassava programmes. The institute is also a key partner with the Government of Nigeria in the implementation of the Nigerian Presidential Cassava Initiative.

Sir Philip said today: “Shell already spends about $60 million annually in the Niger Delta on its well-established social investment programme. I am proud that Shell will now be able to extend this important work with this partnership with USAID. I am confident that our programmes together will make a significant contribution to socio-economic development in Nigeria and in the Niger Delta in particular.”

Mr. Natsios said: “Investing in people is perhaps the single most important factor in achieving long-term economic growth. USAID is proud to partner Shell, who have been working in Nigeria for over 60 years. USAID will continue to support development efforts and capacity building wherever opportunities exist worldwide.”

USAID provides $65 million annually in development assistance to Nigeria in the areas of democracy and governance, economics and agriculture, education, health and HIV/AIDS.

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited was incorporated in 1937 and is the oldest and largest producer of oil and gas in Nigeria. Shell in Nigeria spends some $60 million each year on social investment, assisting communities to develop agriculture and social infrastructure including community health and educational facilities.

SOURCE Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies

CO: Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies; United States Agency for International Development; Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited; International Institute of Tropical Agriculture

ST: Texas, District of Columbia, England, Nigeria

www.prnewswire.com

From: LESrrl3@aol.com

ASIA
S.E. ASIA

Indonesia

SUNKEN TRAWLER: PM orders probe

THE NATION Published on Nov 16, 2003

Indonesian Navy may have overeacted by sinking Thai boat, says Thaksin

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday ordered the Foreign Ministry to look into the sinking of a Thai trawler by the Indonesian navy after its occupants were arrested for fishing illegally.

He said the Indonesians might have been a little hasty in scuttling the Thai-flagged vessel.

The fishing boat may have been guilty of fishing illegally in Indonesian waters, but the Indonesian navy may have overreacted, Thaksin said. Indonesian navy captain Kadir, who uses only one name, said the boat had been pulled into the Java Sea and bombarded until it sank as an example to foreigners fishing illegally in Indonesian waters.

Kadir said the vessel had been seized earlier in the week and 18 Thai nationals arrested.

The fishermen are being questioned in the East Java city of Surabaya, he said. An Indonesian frigate towed the Thai boat into the Java Sea and fired on it on Friday.

�The sinking of the ship was a warning to those stealing fish and rich material resources in Indonesian waters,� said Rear Admiral Slamet Sugianto, Indonesia�s Eastern Fleet commander.

During the past month Indonesia has sunk or seized 16 foreign-flagged vessels it alleged were fishing illegally in its waters, Kadir said.

Illegal fishing is common in the waters off Indonesia, the world�s largest archipelago nation. The navy often complains it does not have the resources to patrol its thousands of kilometres of coastline.

It is estimated that Indonesia loses about US$2 billion (Bt79.7 billion) annually due to illegal fishing by foreign trawlers.

=====================================

Burma

Burmese forests vanishing

Jonathan Watts in Beijing
Friday October 10, 2003
The Guardian

Burma’s virgin forests are disappearing at the rate of more than a million cubic metres per year to satisfy the voracious appetite for timber in neighbouring China..
The environmental group Global Witness has said in a report that the cash-strapped military regime in Rangoon and rebel groups on the border were cutting down teak, mandrake and Chinese coffin trees at an unsustainable rate with disastrous consequences for the environment, the habitat of forest dwellers and the chances for lasting peace in the country.
Although Burma has much of the world’s last virgin forest – including 60% of the globe’s teak trees – it is suffering the fastest deforestation in south-east Asia, itself the worst affected region in the world. The Burmese military junta’s oppression of democrats and ethnic minorities has led to international condemnation and economic sanctions.
Isolated by the west, the generals have used “resource diplomacy” to win political, economic and military favours from China and Thailand in return for logging and mining concessions, the report said. The wood is used for everything from ornaments and flooring to doors and window frames, which are increasingly in demand in China’s explosive economic growth.
Global Witness called on China to halt logging until an environmental assessment can be made. “China has started to protect its own environment now. We call on them to apply the same principles in Burma, but right now what they are doing is the exact opposite.”

From: “Sankar Kumar Ray”

From: Zakir Kibria

=====================================

S. ASIA

India

Praxis journal: a forum for majority world solidarity

Published by praxis journal collective in association with BanglaPraxis.
This is the inagural issue, focuses on river, dam and other water issues in South Asia.
For more info contact: banglapraxis@yahoo.com

=====================================

Bangladesh

India, Bangladesh to count tigers jointly

By Krittivas Mukherjee, Indo-Asian News Service

Kolkata, Nov 9 (IANS) Come January, and India and Bangladesh will begin a joint headcount of tigers in the marshy jungles of the Sunderbans that straddles both countries.

The Sunderbans is the world’s largest delta formed at the confluence of Bay of Bengal and several rivers, including the Ganges and Brahmaputra. In India, it is situated in West Bengal.

“We will begin our tiger census from January 14. Bangladeshi wildlife officials will be present,” West Bengal Forest Minister Jogesh Burman told IANS.

While Indian authorities carry out their weeklong headcount of tigers, Bangladeshi officials will study the process and immediately return to count their own tigers in the Sunderbans.

“Our forest officials will go to Bangladesh to assist them,” Burman said.

This is the first time that India and Bangladesh are carrying out a joint census of tigers in the Sundarbans.

The 9,000-sq km Sunderbans mangrove forest is one of the world’s last surviving natural habitats for tigers, many of them man-eaters. UNESCO declared the Sunderbans’ unique biosphere a World Natural Heritage Site in 1985.

The tiger count in the Indian part of these swampy jungles that stretch some 4,200 sq km was 271 in 2002. The count on the Bangladesh side is uncertain because it doesn’t carry out regular census.

“Because the border is open in the Sunderbans jungles, the tigers keep crossing over to both sides,” Burman said.

Wildlife experts believe a true headcount of the animal in Indian Sunderbans might not be possible because of this reason.

The joint census was agreed upon by both countries to rule out duplication in the counting and better study of the animal’s behaviour.

Although the greater part of the Sunderbans jungle falls in Bangladesh, the Indian half consisting of 53 islands is home to more tigers because most of the sweet water sources are here.

But a recent study has showed that the big cats were migrating to Bangladesh in search of water.

Scientists studying the biospheric changes in the Sunderbans have found that drying up of sweet water sources within the mangrove forest is not only forcing the tiger to leave its habitat in West Bengal, but also bringing about large-scale changes in the flora pattern of the forests.

Already, India and Bangladesh are to work together in a biodiversity project in the Sunderbans.

The Unesco and the U.N. Foundation will pay $125,000 for the preparation of this project, a feasibility report on which has to be ready by April next.

The project includes studying the behaviour of Bengal tigers and to find out why some of them become man-eaters. The study of breeding behaviour and feeding habits of the Bengal tigers are part of the project.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

=====================================

7 fish farm owners killed in 12 days

Staff correspondent, Khulna
URL: THE DAILY STAR

Seven fish farm owners have been killed by extremists in Bagerhat district in last 12 days amid ongoing operation by joint forces.

They were killed for not paying toll to the extremists.

The rise in murders has created a panic among other fish farm owners in Chitalmari, Mollahat and Fakirhat upazilas. They are now thinking of winding up their businesses to save their lives.

The seven victims were killed in the period from October 31 to November 11. They are Liton Sarker, 32, Awami League activist Shaikh Alimuzzaman, 38, Belayet Shaikh, 35, Mintoo Shaikh, Bhupal Chandra Brammon, 45, Upendra Nath Goldar, 35, and his employee Kamalesh.

Liton, also a member of Mulghar Union Parishad was shot dead at Kalkalia on the night of October 31.

Khulna unit of Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters’ Association has expressed deep concern over the rise in murders.

From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com

=====================================

Conserve bio-diversity of the Sundarbans
Zakia Shamim Choudhury
URL: THE DAILY STAR

Bangladesh is blessed with a unique world heritage — the Sundarbans, the biggest mangrove forest in the world. Sundarbans’ existence in its natural and total entity is essential not only for our survival but also for that of the whole world. It inhabits a complex ecosystem including various types of animals, birds, fish, insects etc. Besides, it is the only habitat of the Royal Bengal Tiger.

The Royal Bengal Tiger is unique in its kind and is not found anywhere else around the world. So as our country is gifted with such an animal, it is the duty of the authorities and the people to look after this animal and its habitat. The Sundarban withholds our country like a cradle; its absence would just wash away the existence of Bangladesh in other words. Other countries too are being benefited form this forest, directly or indirectly. So other countries too have the duty to look after this valuable resource as well.

One project known as the Sundarban Bio-diversity Conservation Project (SBCP) was on, but on September 04, 2003 unfortunately the South Asian Department of the ADB intimated that funding for the SBCP would remain suspended until and unless certain terms and conditions specified by ADB were fulfilled. This US$ 77.5 million project was conceived in 1997 and was commenced on April 01, 2000. Moreover there were external finance of US$ 33.9 million, which was supposed to come from the ADB, then a grant of US$ 12.2 million from the GEF and another grant of US$ 3.1 million from the Government of the Netherlands. The reason the fund was suspended is because it could not fulfil its purpose.

The specified purpose of the project was to structure a sustainable management system for the SRF, conservation of the bio-diversity in the Sundarbans, and for eliminating the poverty of the 3.5 million people inheriting the Impact Zone of the project. But the devastating fact is that the Forest Department was able to implement only one-third of the planned activities. Within this time span ADB released 23 percent of the approved funding. So at this point it is visible that the Forest Department had not been able to utilise the fund effectively. According to ADB there was no fault in their plan, while according to the SBCP Watch Group, the original project design itself was faulty, so ADB is obliged to bear the entire cost of re-designing the project as a grant.

At this crucial point, it certainly won’t be wise to keep debating and blaming one another for what happened. It is essential that every individual and group who are involved with this conservation project, should come forward and act together to find out the reasons why this project could not fulfil its aim. Then they should take the required initiative in redesigning the project and its implementation as a whole. Moreover they should specifically assure that the local people have a stand on the overall activity of the project and that their opinion be also taken while taking any decision. The suggestion and opinions of the local people and the Local Government bodies must be taken in every step and the Forest Department should be accountable to them.

The conservation of bio-diversity of the Sundarbans is very much essential. So it won’t be wise to withdraw the funds for its conservation project nor that it be cancelled over some disputes and ineffectiveness. Instead it would be wise for everyone involved with the project to take the stand to implement the project more effectively and efficiently so that it gives out a worthy result.

From: Zakir Kibria

=====================================

Sri Lanka

The US Tropical Forestry Conservation Act, a question of sovereignty

Multilateral and bilateral agencies –World Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, USAID and Japan Bank for International Cooperation– have long provided loans and grants for southern countries, throwing them into a debt trap. Sri Lanka is no exception. To repay its foreign debt, the country has overexploited –with an impact on future generations– its natural resources, including large scale felling of timber, shrimp farming, cultivation of cash crops, mining and the privatisation of water supplies.

On the other hand, large-scale loans and grants for unsuccessful conservation projects –such as tree planting, watershed management, coastal conservation, pollution control, wildlife, medicinal plant conservation– have added to the foreign debt of the country with no improvement in the environment sector in general.

Now, the Sri Lankan government is planning to sign an agreement under the US Tropical Forestry Conservation Act –US Public Law 105-214, for Debt Reduction for Developing Countries with Tropical Forests–, to bind Sri Lanka’s forests for external debt. Under the provisions of this legislation, if a tropical country possesses at least one globally important tropical forest, then that country may sign an agreement with the United States of America to reduce the debts to the former. This may be achieved by debt buyback, by debt for nature swap or by loan restructuring.

However, the key element in the TFCA is the concept of Tropical Forest Funds. These are intended to be established, under the laws of the debtor country, as endowed trust funds to be managed in perpetuity. They would make grants for the conservation, maintenance and restoration of tropical forests in the debtor country, primarily to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved with environment, forestry, conservation and indigenous peoples and other local or regional entities.

The rationale of the agreement is that it would ensure that resources would be allocated to the protection of the forests –that would not otherwise have been so used–, by alleviating indebtedness. But the primary aim of the TFCA is for the US Government to obtain control over the forest resources of tropical countries. It is unrealistic to expect a foreign country such as the US to behave totally altruistically in managing Sri Lanka’s forest resources.

One of the reasons for the TFCA is the protection of the plant and gene bank which is only available in tropical forests, while one of the activities envisaged under the Tropical Forest Funds is research into the medicinal uses of tropical forest plant life indicating that this issue was not far from the minds of US legislators. The US may, therefore be expected to benefit fully from research into the plant and gene resources of Sri Lanka’s forests, to the detriment of the local population. US pharmaceutical companies are well known for getting patents for plant based pharmaceuticals, sometimes of substances that have been in use for millennia.

Additionally, the TFCA may allow the US to maintain its high C02 emission levels. If the US were to eventually ratify the Climate Change Convention’s Kyoto Protocol, it could use the tropical forests that it declares to protect as sinks under the Clean Development Mechanism to absorb its C02 emissions.

Under the TFCA, the forests would be managed by a committee comprising representatives from the US government, international NGOs other than local representatives. But there are many threats of bringing international NGOs to protect local resources. Some of them are infamous for biopiracy and some of them keep biodiversity sites with military support, and their approach is removing people from the forest and buffer zones –not a suitable option for Sri Lanka.

Therefore, the question of sovereignty remains the main issue. If the Government of Sri Lanka is unable to protect its natural resources, then the state is no longer viable in that it cannot protect the interests of the country. Furthermore, can the government sign such an agreement without any public consultation?

Article adapted from: “Tropical Forest Conservation Act and Ecological debt”, by Hemantha Withanage, Environmental Scientist, published in The Island Newspaper, October 1, 2003, sent by the author, e-mail: hemantha@efl.lk

From: “MAP / S.E. Asia”

=====================================

East Asia

China

Mai Po Mangrove Reserve

The Mai Po Nature Reserve lies at the mouth of the Shenzhen River in northwestern Hong Kong, with a mosaic of open water, intertidal mudflats, mangrove, reed beds, sedges, and fresh-water ponds. The reserve has the largest mangrove forest in Hong Kong, and supports seven of the eight local mangrove species. It is the sixth largest protected mangrove stand in China. The reserve also contains the only remaining, traditionally managed, tidal shrimp ponds (gei wai) in southern China, which is widely considered as one good examples of the wise use of coastal wetlands. The reserve has an area of 380 hectares, and is part of the 1,500 hectare Mai Po/Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site, which was designated in September 1995 under the Convention on Wetlands.

WWF Hong Kong has been successfully managing Mai Po since 1984 in cooperation with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of the Hong Kong SAR Government. In order to share our experiences in managing the reserve, WWF Hong Kong has been regularly running Wetland Management Training Programmes and Wetland Environmental Education Programmes for Asian wetland nature reserve staff and government officials, especially from China, since 1991. These programmes also help to promote mutual understanding and co-operation in wetland conservation and management throughout Asia. In January 2003, a training course was held in Zhanjiang Mangrove National Nature Reserve by WWF Hong Kong in cooperation with Sino-Dutch Integrated Mangrove Management and Coastal Protection Project of Zhanjiang in order to promote the wetland conservation there.

From: “Xianji Wen”

OCEANIA
Australia

Prawn farm receives international accreditation

Source: www.affa.gov.au

A south east Queensland prawn farm has become the first in the world to secure a prestigious environmental accreditation that has the potential to reap millions of additional dollars in exports for the nation’s aquaculture industry.

Australian Fisheries Minister Senator Ian Macdonald today (Wednesday
November 12) visited the Rocky Point Prawn Farm in Woongoolba to
congratulate its owners on securing the International Standards Organisation
(ISO) 14001 accreditation.

“This is not just a great day for the Rocky Point Prawn Farm, but for the
entire Australian aquaculture industry,” Senator Macdonald said.
“Aquaculture has had its critics in the past, because of some failed bids
overseas, but an award like this proves that Australian farmers are world
leaders in sustainability.”

To achieve ISO 14001 certification, a company must:

develop an environmental policy (publicly released);
develop and define objectives and targets;
develop and implement an environmental management program;
undertake independent audits; and
undertake a review of the environmental management system.
Senator Macdonald said the award was likely to be the catalyst for future
expansion for Australian exporters into Asian markets.

“The streamlining of Rocky Point Prawn Farm’s processes has already translated into an unprecedented situation in Japan, where the company’s products have become the benchmark of the premium market in the world,” Senator Macdonald said.

“ISO 14001 certification is one of the ways that farmers can show the public that they are achieving a sustainable industry. Armed with this knowledge consumers are prepared to pay more for top quality Australian products.

“The Australian Government is committed to the sustainable development of aquaculture, as is highlighted in the industry-driven Aquaculture Industry Action Agenda, which sets out a blueprint to ensure that the industry grows in an environmentally sustainable manner.”

Owner Serena Zipf said the farm was established in 1984 to diversify from the sugar industry in Queensland.

“As third generation farmers, there’s no denying diversifying was a daunting proposition but we are very proud of what we have achieved,” Ms Zipf said. “We have worked hard to meet these environmental guidelines and it’s great to be recognised.”

Ms Zipf paid tribute to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Seafood Services Australia, the Australian Prawn Farmers Association and the Environmental Protection Agency for assisting the farm secure accreditation.

From Industrial Fish Farming mskladany@iatp.org

LATIN AMERICA
Note: The following news is extracted and translated from Bulletin #1, Oct. 2003 by Red Manglar (Mangrove Network for Latin America)

Brazil

Brazil has two specific laws on mangroves

Since October 2002, Brazil has a very good law on mangroves. However we have to fight to enforce it, for many entrepreneurs do not abide.

You can look up the website for further information regarding the Environment Ministry (Ministerio do Meio Ambiente – MMA) and the National Council on the Environment (Conselho Nacional de Meio Ambiente – CONAMA) which are the two largest bodies dealing with the matter.

Sent by Prof. Dr. Monica Correia mdc@fapeal.br

=====================================

Meeting debates crab mortality in mangroves on the State of Bahia.

The event is part of the National Crab (Caranguejo-UYO) Festival. This shellfish has disappeared from the region in the last year.

A public hearing approved the creation of an Extraction Reserve in the municipality to help the species� conservation.

Ibama and the State of Bahia�s Environment and Water Resources Secretariat are sponsoring a meeting in the city of Canavieiras on September 5th and 6th, to discuss the high mortality of the “caranguejo-u?�” crab in mangrove regions in the northeast of Brazil.

This event is part of the National Shellfish (Caranguejo-UYO) Festival programming, that takes place that week in the same city and that will miss its main attraction this year: the shellfish itself. Approximately one year ago, the mangrove fishermen in mangrove areas between Jequitinhonha and Pardo rivers, close to the cities of Belmonte, Canavieiras and Una, recorded an alarming increase in the crab’s mortality rate, leading to the near disappearance of the species nowadays.

A similar phenomena was recorded in other coastal areas in the northeast, between the state of Rio Grande do Norte and the city of Trancoso, in the extreme south of the state of Bahia. The causes are not yet identified.

In the south of Bahia, a research project coordinated by Cepene � Ibama and directed by Emanuel Roberto Botelho, recorded, in January, the mortality of 109 crabs in a 100 meters line. “The affected specimens showed difficulty in movements and lack of balance when raising the front claws, making the animal fall on its back and die”, says Emanuel Botelho.

In another survey coordinated by Petr�nio Coelho and Ricardo Braga, bacterial colonies were detected on the shell and respiratory system of the crab, as well as a necrosis in internal organs and weak immune system.

The scarcity of this kind of crab will endanger a full natural chain and menace many fish species and other deeper water animals, as explained Mr. Sergio Ramos, head of the regional Ibama office in Ilh�us. “The offspring of the Robalo fish feed on crab larvae. When bigger, they feed on sea-horse, which also depend on the larvae to live. Without the larvae the life cycle in compromised. Everything in linked”, explains Sergio Ramos.
The crab is important not only to traditional communities in the southern region of Bahia, but also to the region’s economy. “Even the Canavieiras� tourism marketing has this crab as its symbol”, says Cleide Guirro, coordinator of the Environmental Education Center of Ibama�s Executive Management in Eunopolis.

According to Ms. Guirro, the natural availability of the crab today compromises even the survival of traditional communities that live on its extraction. “It was difficult to find ten individuals to make up a sample to send to laboratories”, said Cleide.

In June, Ibama�s Executive Management in Eunopolis sent samples both live and dead to Unesp (state university of Sao Paulo), in Sao Vicente, which is finalizing tests, under the coordination of Prof. Marcelo Pinheiro, a crab expert. The collection of the samples was done in a partnership between the fisherfolk community of Canavieiras, the Environment Secretariat of Santa Cruz Cabrolia and the Patax� community of Aldeia Velha, in Porto Seguro.

========

New Conservation area will protect coast and mangrove of the Jequitinhonha river

This new conservation area will help protect the caranguejo-uyo crab. On July the 30th, people from the Canavieiras municipality unanimously approved during a public hearing the creation of a Extraction Reserve (Resex) in the region. This new Resex will bring greater protection to a 3.5 nautical mile strip, in parallel to the coastal line of the municipality. The process is now with Ibama�s legal department. The reserve’s final approval and official creation is expected in less then a year.

Extraction Reserves are territorial spaces dedicated to self-sustainable extraction and protection of renewable natural resources for traditional folk. In these areas it is possible to achieve sustainable development, by balancing environment conservation and social interests, improving the quality of life of the local population.

In Brazil there are four marine extraction reserves today. Two are located in Bahia: The Ponta do Corumbau Reserve, located in the Prado municipality, and the Baia de Iguape Resex, in the municipalities of Maragojipe and Cachoeira.

Sent by: IBAMA
gerex.eunapolis.ba@ibama.gov.br
www.ibama.gov.br

From: “Redmanglar”

=====================================

Ecuador

WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE PUERTO AUTHORITY

COMMUNITY TAKES DOWN WALLS OF ILLEGAL SHRIMPFARM

On Tuesday, September 23rd, people from the mangrove communities in the Puerto Bol’var county, province of El Oro, had a day’s work in order to tear down the walls of an illegal shrimp farm.

The shrimp farm located in Estero El Pilo, wiht 10 hectares in area, was considered illegal by the environment authority and, for that reason, on September 23rd, members of seven organizations represented by UOPPAO, three organizations represented by UCOPROPAO, twenty attorneys from the Municipality of Puerto Bol’var, four security personnel from the Conservation and Inspection Unit, six delegates from the Zonal Committee (Mangrove Commission) and one representative from the Coastal Mangrove Resource Management Program (PMRC), went to the Estero El Pilo at 8:30 am to demolish the walls.
“The goals are to allow the inflow and outflow of tides, so as to clean the pond where previously a mangrove existed, to reforest the area and to allow the rebirth of the original ecosystem”, said Tomas Cruz R., spokesperson for the province of El Oro

During the next few days other shrimp farms that were declared illegal by UCD, and the County of Puerto Bolivar, are to be approached and dealt with in the same manner.

From: “Redmanglar”
redmanglar@redmanglar.org

STORIES/ISSUES
The Observer, 9th November

Russia’s nuclear fish threat – Scottish wild salmon stock at risk

Stephen Khan

Atomic salmon from a filthy Russian sea have arrived in Scottish rivers, sparking fears that they will pollute the food chain and pose a further threat to already beleaguered wild fish stocks.

The Kola Fjord in north-west Russia is the world’s largest rubbish dump for military nuclear waste. It is also home to Oncorhynchus gorbusha, a species of salmon native to the Pacific but taken west to be farmed.

And where there are fish farms there are escapes. Now the Pacific salmon have turned up on our shores. Last August one was caught in the River Leven, the stream that drains Loch Lomond.

A dead fish has also been found on the banks of Prince Charles’s favourite Atlantic salmon stream, the River Naver in North Sutherland.

For years ghost ships carrying hundreds of spent nuclear fuel assemblies from the reactors of icebreakers and the nuclear-powered submarines have sat in the White Sea Kola areas. Nuclear waste was jammed in vessels and ditched on shore, because there were no permanent storage facilities.

In 2001 Western experts discovered radioactive waste stored in rusting tanks and containers on the ground, with no roof to protect against the elements or to prevent rain and snow from washing radioactive liquids into a bay.

Bruce Sandison represents the Salmon Farm Monitor, a group which campaigns for the restriction of salmon farming (www.salmonfarmmonitor.org ). He said yesterday that the arrival of atomic Pacific pinks could finish off the Salmo Salar, the wild Atlantic salmon, in Scotland.

He pointed out that wild salmon numbers were already in steep decline in Scotland and warned that more escaped farm animals were now being caught than genuinely wild ones.

Disease from farms and the dilution of the gene pool by spawning escapees already threatened the Atlantic salmon’s future.

A recent estimate suggested there were only 500,000 wild Atlantic salmon left. Many of these, said Sandison are likely to have been genetically contaminated already.

Citing Scottish Executive figures, he said: ‘Since 1998 77 incidents have been reported involving the escape of more than one million farm salmon and trout from their cages.’

Researchers found that wild salmon were vulnerable to extinction because of genetic and competitive pressures from farmed fish. Experiments with wild and farmed salmon hybrids in fresh and marine water showed that the offspring of fish that had interbred had a much lower survival rate – some 70 per cent of the fish died in the first few weeks of life.

Overall, farmed salmon were much less successful at surviving in the wild than native salmon and were unlikely to return to rivers to spawn. However, they grew quicker than wild salmon and the ones that did survive displaced many of their wild cousins from the rivers.

The team, led by Dr Philip McGinnity of Ireland’s national agency, the Marine Institute, and Professor Andy Ferguson of Queen’s University Belfast, warned that accidental and deliberate introductions of farmed salmon could lead to extinction of vulnerable wild populations of Atlantic salmon.

Dr Paulo Prodohl, a co-researcher on the study, said wild salmon were the product of thousands of years of evolution, which had ‘fine-tuned’ their genes to survive in the natural environment. The introduction of new genes from fish that had been bred in captivity could wreak havoc on local gene pools.

Now, those wild creatures that evade domestic farmed escapees face the prospect of coming into contact with the atomic Russian stock. ‘We are extremely worried about this latest development. This distinctive, humped back fish has now entered Scottish waters. Only time will tell what impact it will have on the environment.’

Anglers and fish farmers have already had to deal with the presence of British radioactive waste entering the food chain. In July the Food Standards confirmed the presence of Technetium 99 in salmon on sale in supermarkets. However, it was deemed to be of such a low level that it presented no threat to human health.’ But nuclear waste was being summarily dumped in north-west of Russia until 1994.

GUARDIAN

From: “Don Staniford”
don_staniford@hotmail.com

ANNOUNCEMENTS
UNEP Champions of the Earth Award

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is looking for applicants for its new international ‘Champions of the Earth’ award. It will be presented to one person or group from each of six regions that have made a substantial contribution to protection and sustainable management of the earth’s environment. The six regions are: Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, and West Asia.

Application forms can be downloaded from www.unep.org/champions. The deadline for submissions for the inaugural 2004 award is 1st December 2003. Get your entries in NOW.

Information on the award is also available on the website in French and Spanish.

For more information please contact:

Jim Sniffen
Information Officer
UNEP New York
sniffenj@un.org

=====================================

GPA Outreach Newsletter

The GPA is the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities, for which the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) provides the secretariat.

This new monthly newsletter will be useful for all stakeholders who work in, or are interested in, marine and freshwater policy, management and sustainability. The newsletters will be relevant to business, NGOs, students, UN or government officials, scientists and practitioners.

A partnership has been established with the GPA and Stakeholder Forum to increase the profile of the GPA and enhance the implementation of the programme in your part of the world. Monthly GPA Outreach newsletters and weekly GPA News Updates are a new source of articles, news and updates on the GPA and GPA-related events and information relevant to the wider marine and freshwater sector.

For more information on our work and how it relates to yours please visit our websites:

GPA
www.gpa.unep.org
Stakeholder Forum: WWW.stakeholderforum.org

From:

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
Wetlands and Agriculture

The publication “Wetlands and Agriculture” incorporating the papers presented at the
Global Biodiversity Forum 17 (associated with Ramsar’s COP8 in Valencia, Spain, last November 2002) workshop on “Agriculture, Wetlands, and Water Resources” and presenting the GBF input to Ramsar Resolution VIII.34 “Agriculture, wetlands, and water resource management” adopted by COP8. is available to forum members at a special price of US$30 only (Post paid) from
the National Institute of Ecology The volume edited by Rachel Wiseman, Doug Taylor, and Henk Zingstra, first published in the International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Studies, vol. 29, nos.
1-2, is re-issued as a 122-page softcover monograph by International Scientific Publications and the National Institute of Ecology in New Delhi, with financial support from the International Agricultural
Centre in Wageningen, The Netherlands
Those interested in the volume may send a cheque for USDollars thirty only in favour of the National Institute of Ecology and mail it to the Secretary General, NIE, 50-B Pocket C, Sidhartha extension, New Delhi 110014.

A few gratis copies may be available ONLY from the editor, Prof. Henk Zingstra
(email: henk.zingstra@wur.nl ).

From Dr Brij Gopal email: brij@nieindia.org

=====================================

FISHING DOWN & FARMING UP?

ICONOCLAST DANIEL PAULY TO FOCUS DEBATE
AT INTERNATIONAL FISH CONGRESS IN VANCOUVER NEXT SPRING

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 17, 2003

VANCOUVER — Daniel Pauly, keynote speaker at next spring’s International congress on fisheries, has been named to Scientific American’s list of 50 influential people for 2003. The University of British Columbia
(UBC) fisheries expert is honoured in the Dec. issue of the magazine.

Delegates attending the Fourth World Fisheries Congress to be held in
Vancouver, May 2-6, 2004, will debate Prof. Pauly�s outspoken views on “fishing down the food chain” and the collapse of marine stocks around the world. Pauly and the other select fisheries experts are challenged with
questions relating to what the world must do to address conservation yet maintain fisheries in the face of increasing demands.

Prof. Pauly, director of the Fisheries Centre at UBC, is a world leader and innovator in fisheries science and influential critic of fishing practices now depleting the earth�s fish stocks.

Meanwhile, there is keen interest in the Congress — among scientists, the industry, environmental groups, major foundations and the public. To date, more than 1,200 abstracts have been submitted to the Science Program,
exploring aspects of the Congress theme: �Reconciling Fisheries with Conservation: The Challenge of Managing Aquatic Ecosystems.�

World demand for fish products has grown rapidly and fishing activity has expanded to unprecedented levels. At the same time, habitat degradation and climate change reduced the productivity of the world�s oceans and freshwater ecosystems.

Together, these activities have resulted in major ecosystem change, including species shifts, depletions and collapse of both industrial and sustenance fisheries. The Congress will examine new ways to evaluate and maintain the economic and social benefits of healthy fisheries.

In an unprecedented approach, organizers are bringing together scientists, the fishing community and decision makers from the globe — to debate means to reconcile fisheries with conservation.

One featured highlight will be an all-day forum where the broader fisheries community will address how industry and environmental organizations can further the objective of “Reconciling Fisheries with Conservation”. A second public forum will examine the seafood “sustainable fishery” certification movement in achieving fisheries conservation.

World Fisheries Congresses convene every four years. Athens, Brisbane And Beijing (in 2000) are former sites. Worldwide attention will focus on Vancouver, the first North American city to host this event.

Between 1,600 and 1,800 delegates are expected to attend the World Congress
hosted by the American Fisheries Society. Major sponsors include the B.C. and Canadian governments.

-end-

REGISTER, OR LEARN MORE ABOUT THE 4TH WORLD FISHERIES CONGRESS

 

From Alex Rose agrose@shaw.ca

=====================================

Book On Integrated River Basin Management

The World Wide Fund for Nature International’s Living Waters Programme has recently published a very useful book on Integrated River Basin Management. The well-illustrated 94-page softcover work begins with a summary of the global freshwater crisis and briefly describes the principles of IRBM – the introduction then notes that “WWF and numerous partner organizations have launched conservation field projects . . . to
demonstrate key aspects of IRBM in many countries around the world. The ‘lessons learnt’ from these projects reflect a broad range of geographical, socio-economic and cultural factors, and are based on findings and conclusions over a period of time.” This book distills 11 ‘lessons’ from 14 case studies from around the world, many of which
involve Ramsar sites, including the Everglades, the Danube Delta, Gwydir
in Australia, Lakes Chad and Prespa, Kafue Flats, and La Cocha. Compiled and edited by Tim Jones and Bill Phillips, both former members of the Ramsar Secretariat, and designed by Tim Davis, the book offers not only the lessons and the case studies but also an informative look at the way in which WWF and its partners work effectively on the ground. People who need the printed edition can obtain it free of charge from Berna Heikamp (bheikamp@wwf.nl) of the Living Waters Programme. More immediately, all of its parts can be downloaded in PDF chapter by chapter, by selecting individual case studies (in English) and/or the “Introduction & Synthesis” (in English, French or Spanish) from
PANDA.ORG

=====================================

NAYLOR’S REPORT ON SALMON AQUACULTURE FEATURED BY SEASPAN
Rosamund Naylor (PF’94) and colleagues published an in-depth report in the journal Environment entitled, Salmon Aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest: A Global Fishery with Local Impacts (reported in SeaSpan, October03A issue). Now SeaWeb has written a discussion of the report for their November issue of Ocean Update, available at:

www.seaweb.org/resources/
The report itself is available directly from Naylor, at:
roz@stanford.edu
650.723.5697
—SOURCE: SeaWeb Ocean Update, November 2003

>>>>>>Rosamund Naylor is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Environmental Science and Policy and the director of studies for the Goldman Interschool Honors Program in Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy.

=====================================

Community Forestry Search Engine

The following search engine “webisis” can be used to locate community forestry resources held at the Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC) at Kasetsart University in Bangkok. The search engine contains a large variety of publications on community forestry and a variety of other forestry issues. The search provides references to the publications, but are not available on-line. Publications can be borrowed from the documentation centre. The center has more than 5,500 publications, 360 newsletters and journals, more than 100 videos and 30 CDs. A search of resources can also be done through the RECOFTC website.

From: “MAP / S.E. Asia” mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

AQUACULTURE CORNER
four other companies where using the illegal fungicide.
******FIN*****
MAYORES INFORMACIONES

=========================================

EDITORS NOTE: This is an original contribution to WorldFoodNews from Ray
Rogers. The contribution was solicited to mark World Fisheries Day, November
21.

Mesh Flesh: Fish Farms and Environment/Equity Issues

Prof. Raymond A. Rogers
Faculty of Environmental Studies
York University

In many places around the world, a social transformation is taking place with regard to the role of technology and property rights as they relate to the production of fish as a food commodity. These changes have a profound effect in determining who benefits from the production of fish, and the role local communities play in terms of access and
participation in these fisheries. Fish farms are the latest and most aggressive foray into alterations to the social and ecological fabric of coastal human communities and marine biotic communities. The fish farm “blue revolution” confirms an end point in world fisheries where there is a recognition that unhusbanded nature can no longer withstand current levels of human exploitation, and that if fish are to remain a commodity available to humans, it will only happen in the context of massive “inputs” on the production side, similar to advanced petrochemically-based agriculture.

This social and technological transformation in the fishery began in the middle of the 20th Century with the creation of the international distant water fleet – made up of the world�s most industrialized countries – that roamed the oceans collapsing one fish stock after another. The technological changes brought about by World War Two (radar, sonar, diesel engines, hydraulics, polypropylene rope) created a powerful dragger fleet that overwhelmed the more “backward” artisanal fishers, which, in turn led to a number of Law of the Sea conferences throughout the 1970s that attempted to impose catch limits on this international fleet. When these initiatives failed to limit exploitation, coastal states unilaterally claimed a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone so as to internalize high seas exploitation within the unified directing power of the state and promote ecological and economic stability in their newly-nationalized fisheries.

In the context of these nationalized resource management schemes, the technological and economic pressures continued to expand in the fishery as domestic fleets took up the mantle of modernization, and throughout the 1980s there were many management failures and moratoriums, as fish stocks continued to collapse. Centralized fisheries management regimes headed by national governments were seen to be very expensive failures, leading to massive unemployment and ecological disequilibrium. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, this has resulted in a “down-sizing” movement in fisheries management toward privatization of quota as national governments try to get out of the fish management business. It is in the context of ecological failure and the withdrawal of national governments from fish management � bringing about the increased privatization and autonomy of players in the fishing industry � that fish farms appear as an alternative to past fishing practices.

In summing up this short history of failure in the fishery, it is possible to identify two dominant movements that link it to the current fish farm debates. The first movement is the appearance of new technology that aids in fish exploitation. This is followed by social and ecological upheaval, leading to the marginalization of the smaller players in the
industry, and ecological uncertainty. The second movement is one of enclosure where, in the midst of this often strife-ridden situation, powerful players in the industry pressure regulators to insure their access to what remains of the fish, thereby denying access to those who traditionally played a role in the fishery.

So while promoting ecological and economic stability as the goals of fisheries management, in fact what has happened in practice is the exact opposite: ecological collapse and economic marginalization. The fishery is a classic example of technological optimism gone wrong, especially when it is followed by the privatizing mantras of the nation state, which has come to understood the problems of the fishery in terms of it not being “capitalist enough” because it lacked private property rights. It has been a juggernaut of catastrophe. Fish farms are the next stage in this technological and social transformation of marine ecosystems and the coastal communities who depend on these ecosystems.

With the expansion in the power of technology as it applies to fish farms, nature moves from being interconnected diverse groups of biotic communities that generate life — if left alone sufficiently — to being the passive genetic material upon which technology acts. Nature no longer produces the wonder of life. Instead, technology becomes the active agent as it operates within strictly controlled conditions. We then move from a paradigm of indigenous co-evolution to one of exotic manipulation and control. When one begins to assess the pros and cons of fish farms, it is important to ask yourself “In which of these two worlds do I want to live?”

For example, this same transformation occurred on the Great Plains of North
America throughout the 19th Century, as the privatization of farmland marginalized the common-property regimes of Native North Americans engaged in the buffalo hunt. Although there was enormous suffering and conflict that accompanied this social and technological transformation, very few are proclaiming that we should bring back the buffalo hunt, even if the taste of this free range meat far surpasses that of the feedlot product currently available.

On an annual basis, one-third of the 150 tonnes of fish products consumed globally are currently produced in fish farms. So clearly, the enclosure process in the fishery is already underway. Added to this, the fish meal that is used as feed in fish farms comes in large part from fish caught in third world countries. Therefore the ramifications of this technological shift in methods of production extend beyond the actual sites themselves,
and disrupt artisanal fisheries all over the world. Fish that could feed local people are diverted into a global feed system that supports rich consumer tastes in the north.

So what we have here is a situation where the failure of the previous form of technology regarding the exploitation of fish becomes an excuse for the next, more intrusive and aggressive, entry into the ecosystem. In the current transformation, fish farms have become the cure for fish dragging. In the shift from the remnants of the Paleolithic hunter/gatherer/fisher approach to fishing, to the Neolithic fish farms, there is the recognition that, given the rationalized regimes of today�s food production, unhusbanded nature is an uncertain producer, and that intensive controlled inputs are necessary to insure through-put in the commodity chain.

As a result in this shift in mode of production, conversations about the fishery have shifted from the Paleolithic concerns about ecosystem health and sustainable levels of exploitation, to the Neolithic concerns about levels of PCBs in farmed fish, the escape of exotic species from pens, parasites like sea lice, and antibiotics to protect against the spread of disease in the “crop” of fish.

A case can be made, then, that the pros and cons of fish farms have to go beyond an evaluation of health issues to consider the larger social and ecological issues at work in these historical changes. It is not so much a consumer issue, as it is a citizenry issue. What is the social price we want to pay to have fish available to us? If fish are available to us from highly controlled sites, what will happen to our attitude to the former fish habitats of oceans, lakes, and streams, if we no longer have to insure their health as homes for fish. The complex, interconnected responsibilities of inhabiting a world with other beings can be wished away if fish come from pens and concrete tanks.

Raymond A. Rogers is a Professor of Environmental Studies at York University
in Toronto, Canada. He is the author of three books: Nature and the Crisis of Modernity; The Oceans Are Emptying: Fish Wars and Sustainability; and Solving History: The Challenge of Environmental Activism. Previous to returning to university, he spent twelve years as a commercial fisherman off the south coast of Nova Scotia.

WHO WE ARE: This e-mail service shares information to help more people discuss crucial policy issues affecting global food security. The service is managed by Amber McNair of the University of Toronto, in association with the Munk Centre for International Studies and Wayne Roberts of the Toronto Food Policy Council, in partnership with the Community Food Security Coalition, World Hunger Year, and International Partners for Sustainable Agriculture. Please help by sending information or names and e-mail addresses of co-workers who’d like to receive this service, to foodnews@ca.inter.net

From: Industrial FishFarming
industrial-fishfarming@iatp.org

Late Friday News, 127th Ed., 3 Nov 2003

Dear Friends,

This is the 127th Edition of the Late Friday News.

This month, please commemorate with us the loss of Korunamoyee sandar on Nov. 7th who was murdered during a protest against an illegal shrimp farmer in Harinkhola, Bangladsh in 1990. Also, we commemorate the murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa on Nov. 10th who had been an inspiring light for his Ogoni people n the darkness of Shell Oil’s sad legacy in Niger Delta. To these good, but fallen leaders in the global community rights movement, we offer this edition of the Late Friday News!

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Late Friday News Archive

Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 127th Edition, 3 November 2003

FEATURE STORY
Privatizing the Ocean, the Last Great Mahele?

MAP WORKS
MAP’s Art Gallery Website
Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars
Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!
John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours

AFRICA

Nigeria
sHell Again; Mangrove Forests, swamps, fishes, crabs, others, stink, sink…

ASIA

S.E. ASIA

Thailand
RECOFTC’s Useful Trainng Courses
Community Based Tourism Handbook From REST

Indonesia
Indonesia to Host World Aquaculture Conference

Burma (Myanmar)
Community forestry in Myanmar

Vietnam
Conservation and Development of Wetlands

S. ASIA

India
India’s river-linking plan and Sundarbans’ dreadful fate

Bangladesh
Farmers cry for virus-free shrimp cultivation
Shrimp sector awaits big boost

LATIN AMERICA

Ecuador
Request for Support From Coordinador Nacional

STORIES/ISSUES
Privatization of World’s Waterways Criticized
CHINA PLANNING TO DIVERT BRAHMAPUTRA

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Livelihoods Connect
World Wetlands Day Preparations Begin

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS
SOUTHEAST ASIAN CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES MANAGEMENT AND TRADE
Two New Publications
World Atlas of Seagrasses

AQUACULTURE CORNER
Labor department: Farmed fish sinking Alaska fishermen
Wild salmon at risk from escapees
NY Times Ad Condemns Farmed Salmon Sales
Farmed salmon come under fire
Closed-tank fish farm proposed

FEATURE STORY
“The next world war, it’s said, will be fought over water: the world loses 160 billion cubic metres of usable water a year, and the water table falls an average three metres annually.”
From”This Man Owns The River” by Bhavdeep Kang

Privatizing the Ocean, the Last Great Mahele?

With energy and aquaculture industry insiders waiting in the wings, the U.S. government quietly lays plans to sell off one of the few remaining public commons — the ocean’s continental shelf

by JEREMY BROWN | posted 10.28.03 |

“First of all the Georgian silver goes, and then all that nice furniture that used to be in the saloon. Then the Canelettos go.”

– Harold Macmillan, describing Margaret Thatcher’s privatization program.

The amazing turnaround in the British economy under Margaret Thatcher, and
the rebound from recession in the U.S. under Bill Clinton are customarily attributed to the skill and correct economic policies of those leaders. A review of the sale of assets held in public trust indicates another explanation and what the present administration might have in mind for the ocean’s continental shelf.

It was in the 1980s, when North Sea oil started to pour into the British economy, and state-owned monopolies in gas, electricity, railways and telecoms were sold off, that Thatcher was able to erase the red ink from
Britain’s Exchequer, a process which former prime minister Macmillan described with deft irony as “flogging the family silver to settle the tradesman’s bill.”

In the 1990s the sale of an asset that had hitherto been considered of insignificant value poured enormous amounts of money into the U.S. Treasury.

The electromagnetic spectrum, or radio frequency, stretches from extremely low frequency (ELF) through the bands more familiar to most people as AM, FM and UHF, and on up through microwave to x-rays and beyond. The extremes of this range are of little interest to everyday communication, but modern life as we have come to know it simply would not function without regulated and orderly access to much of the spectrum.

Before the advent of pagers and cell phones, access to radio frequency was a mundane affair. Television had its assigned bands, AM and FM radio, amateur radio, business communications marine and so on all had their allotments, regulated by one of the least glamorous of federal agencies, the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC).

The visionaries of mobile personal communications (pagers, cell phones, etc.) realized that the potential demand for bandwith would swamp this comfortable arrangement. They pressed the FCC to become more responsive to their ideas and to make available much greater blocks of the spectrum.

Starting in the mid 1970s with a flexible Specialized Mobile Radio Service, the FCC moved from assigning licenses for a nominal fee to a progressively more market-based system; auctions. By the time Congress revised the Telecommunications Act in 1994, the auctioning of cell phone frequencies alone was expected to raise $10 billion for the Treasury, an estimate that proved to be low by a factor of ten. Ironically, it was policies adopted in the Reagan years that paid off so handsomely for Bill Clinton.

In the early years of the twenty-first century, the U.S. government again finds itself in deficit. But bandwidth is a finite commodity — it cannot be minted as a profligate treasury might print banknotes, so that cupboard of
assets has been stripped bare and another item of family silver must be found to keep up with the tradesman’s demands. The usually identified assets held by the government in the public trust, such as land, are too protected by laws and the alert eye of public interest watchdogs. What would be ideal
is something of great potential value, which is tucked away in the proverbial cedar chest, and which none of the rest of the family knows of, or would miss.

Just such a treasure is the continental shelf. Indeed, the U.S. territorial waters, commonly called the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)1 appear perfect for such a sale. They are real estate, hold vast natural resources, are
completely out of sight, and 99 percent of the public doesn’t even know the EEZ exists. Potential economic benefits that could accrue to private holders of the continental shelf include not only familiar oil and gas development, but minerals such as deep sea manganese nodules and methane hydrates,
geothermal potential and aquaculture.

Who could possibly object or miss it once it was sold off? Probably only fishermen, yachtsmen and cranky academics. Against this you have the vast force of speculative venture capital, eager to grab a piece of the action in a land rush on the planet’s last frontier.

Surely the powerful environmental lobby would never allow such a thing to happen? Indeed, the silence of most of the large green groups is surprising, since they must know something is happening. This apparent acquiescence is best understood when one realizes what the green lobby might actually stanm to gain from this process.

High on most environmental wish lists is the desire to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), a system of off-limits preserves throughout the oceans where most activities would be prohibited. If key environmental
lobbyists can be assured that they will get to lock up certain crown jewels, the privatization of the rest of the ocean commons may be the price they are willing to pay to get MPAs.

Following the example of previous privatizations of public assets, the
insiders who lock up their piece of the action early would stand to benefit handsomely once market forces take control, as in transparent auctions2. Against this public-spirited regulators should be expected to publicize
widely this process, in order to attract the highest possible value to the country for the sale of its property. Is this happening?

Not if those who stand to benefit most can help it. So far, the insiders are well ahead. The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, established in 2000 by Congress and appointed by the President, has conducted its business quietly, below the radar of media scrutiny. The 16-member commission and its
executive director include nine members with direct ties easily traced to the oil industry, mining, development, aquaculture and waste disposal, all industries with reasons to pay attention. Seven have ties with interests that would also benefit from the creation of MPAs, but only two have any connection with stakeholders who will likely lose — shipping and fishing.

Whilst agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Energy
and the Environmental Protection Agency are quite reticent about the potential value of this process, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its subsidiary National Marine Fisheries Service
(NMFS) may actually be serving, to a degree, the public interest by openly promoting the opportunities for offshore aquaculture. As further evidence of both the potential windfall to insiders and being first in line, the marine aquaculture industry in the U.S., which is principally engaged in growing
Atlantic salmon, is hanging on despite mounting losses. Being first in line and able to convert its leases into real property would certainly explain why it persists.

All these developments assume a self-evident rationale for creating property rights to the continental shelf: that the government has a financial interest in creating and selling them, and the various industries in acquiring them as cheaply as possible. The open public debate as to whether any of these things are in the public interest has yet to begin, and should do so before any commitments are made. The loss to the people of Hawaii through the Great Mahele is beyond dispute, whatever good intentions preceded it. The privatization of the ocean commons could well duplicate that pattern of loss, yet on a far larger scale.
======
Jeremy Brown is a commercial fisher from Bellingham, Wash. and a board member of the Washington Trollers Association, the Western Fishboat Owners Association, the American Fishermens Research Foundation and the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association. He is a 2002 Food and Society Policy Fellow, a program of the Thomas Jefferson Agricultural Institute in partnership with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Note: The Great Mahele refers to the process whereby Hawaiian land – formally held by the King — was divided (Mahele roughly means division), thus accelerating the transition from subsistence to a cash- and property-based economy. Despite the stated intent that Hawaiian commoners should be the
beneficiaries, in a very short time haole traders and missionaries had amassed most of the land, a situation that could be said to persist to the present. See Diane Lee Rhodes, Overview of Hawaiian History, Ch V.
From: robert ovetz

MAP WORKS

ENJOYABLE WAYS TO HELP SUPPORT MAP

MAP’s Art Gallery Website

Visit the Website of Chilean artist Monica Gutierrez-Quarto to view her gallery caf�eacute; of beautiful prints and paintings.

“I’m happy to introduce my gallery web site. www.gutierrez-Quartogallery.com
Please pass on to others to help increase the visibility A percentage of all sales generated via my website will go towards supporting the good work of Mangrove Action Project.”

For More Information, Please Contact: “monica gutierrez-quarto”

=============================

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars

Order Your 2004 Children’s Art Calendars produced for the third consecutive year by MAP with artwork from children from 12 mangrove nations. Help support MAP while keeping track of the date! Please contact MAP at mangroveap@olympus.net for more details on how to order. Calendars are $12, including shipping and handling.

——————————————–

Take A Coffee Break For the Mangroves!

Mangrove Action Project
and Grounds for Change

Help support the Mangrove Action Project through the purchase of Grounds for Change triple-certified coffee! Grounds for Change will donate 10% of purchase price to the Mangrove Action Project each time you make a purchase at the Grounds for Change web site. It’s a great way to support socially and environmentally-conscious coffee and healthy mangrove forests across the globe.

You can participate in one of two ways:

1. Visit the Mangrove Action Project web site and click on the DONATE TO MAP THROUGH YOUR NEXT CUP OF COFFEE link.

Or, Click on
2. GROUNDS FOR CHANGE
You will then be directed to the Grounds for Change web site.

Grounds for Change sells only Fair Trade, Organic, Shade-Grown coffee which is roasted by hand, to-order at their family owned facility on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. Grounds for Change is a member of TransFair USA, the Songbird Foundation and the Fair Trade Federation. Grounds for Change further supports fair trade economics by donating 1% of profits to the Fair Trade Federation.

Please note that in order for the 10% donation to be made to MAP, supporters must follow one of the two options outlined above.

From mangroveap@olympus.net
——————————————

John Gray Sea Canoe Eco-Tours
MAP voted “Best of the Best”

Thailand’s government promotes shrimp farming, seriously threatening mangroves. Combined with over-fishing and unplanned tourism, many marine ecosystems are in crisis. Thailand and MAP need all the help they can get, so John Gray’s SeaCanoe celebrates 20 years of “Natural History by Sea Kayak” by donating 20% of your JGSC booking to MAP.

Expect real adventure. Started in Hawai’i in (1983) and Thailand (1989), John’s concept received immediate recognition. “Moloka’i’s Forgotten Frontier” won 1985 EMMY and TEDDY awards as best environmental production. Travel Channel ran his 1988-89 “Inside Hawai’i” shows three times. In Asia, exotic sea kayaking includes limestone tidal sea caves with cliff-lined lagoons behind them, and Gray invented the Tidal Technology to enter these ecosystems – see it on “Globetrekker”, “Passport to Adventure” and Canada’s “Beyond Borders”. Gray’s Ecotourism demonstration project won six environmental awards with trips receiving regular National Geographic “World’s Best” mentions.

In January a MAP group tried a Phang Nga trip and the creative sparks flew. JGSC guides gained significant and ongoing mangrove knowledge, and this fundraising concept was born. If you seek an exotic and unique adventure, contact info@johngray-seacanoe.com . Make your 20% donation directly to MAP and JGSC credits the contribution to your Tropical Kayaking adventure.

From: “John Gray’s SeaCanoe”

AFRICA

Nigeria

Alert No. 6
sHell Again; Mangrove Forests, swamps, fishes, crabs, others, stink, sink…

Highlights.
* Tilapia, crabs, others die in hundreds as Shell spill…
* Hunger crisis heightens in affected communities
* More tales of pains and pangs in the Delta.

Ogoni; Flashpoint Of Unending Devastations.
The poverty – stricken rural people of Bera, Mogho, Goi, Bara-Nwezor, Bodo, Gbe and B-Dere communities, all administratively located in the Gokana Local Government Area of Ogoni, Rivers State, Nigeria, are still counting their losses in the wake of a huge leakage which occurred on the Shell’s Bomu pipeline since August 25, 2003, and had remained unclean till the time of this field report.

Huge Ecological Disaster
Since 1993, following the non-violent revolt of the Ogoni people spearheaded by Ken Saro Wiwa, martyred author and environmentalist which resulted into the stoppage of Shell’s Petroleum activities in Ogoni country. The fragile land had witnessed one ecological problem or another from abandoned facilities.

The latest spill, which could aptly be described as the mother of all spills, occurred from an aged pipeline at K-Dere community. Characteristically, the spill migrated off site through farmlands, streams, swamps stretching from the scenic Gbugbu and Kpene forests through all other streams that share natural linkages and connectivity, emptying into swamps, creeks, large holes, crevices, remote fishing areas, waterways, mangrove forests, fish fences etc with its severe devastating consequences.

Dead Fishes Stink; Creeks, Mangroves Sink

Like the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back, at the time the linkage occurred, official and field activities at Shell’s Eastern division, were paralyzed following a strike action embarked upon by its work force demanding for better working conditions.

Field monitors of Niger Delta Project for Environment, Human Rights and Development (NDPEHRD) visited all the affected communities and spoke with the poor rural fishers folks and farmers who are rendered jobless and hungry by the spill. At the Bodo, K-Dere, Bomu and Gbe Creeks, NDPEHRD observed that the native mangrove specie, Rhizophora Racemosa in the Creek outer margin of the area are showing obvious physical damage and decay of prop root pointing to eventual defoliation and death. The prop roots in the fishing grounds also provide food and cover for fish. Sadly too, regeneration of the prop root is known to take up to a maximum of 10-15 years.

The mangrove area with hard substrate (chikoko) and soft mud subtract are contaminated and stinking. Also, dead bodies of crabs, uca, sesarma, shapping shrimps, tilapia were found floating on the watertable of the affected creeks. NDPEHRD is in possession of video clips and photographs showing the horrible sites. On sunny days the affected sites release emissions and offensive ordour that create discomfort in the environment, health problems and fears of epidemic especially for creek dwelling families and locals. 56 – year-old Mrs. Mary Vitaa, a widow and mother of 4 children and grandmother of 10 children, spoke to NDPEHRD in her native Gokana dialect “since I was born I have not seen this kind (spill). Even in far away mangrove forest where we paddle our canoe to pick periwinkles and oysters the whole area are covered with crude oil. What am I going to do? I don’t have farmlands, this is the onlysource of my survival for decade,” she cried.

It is Sabotage or Third party Interference – Shell
Saddened by the whimpering cries of poor rural people, especially women and children, NDPEHRD field team made frantic effort to contact Shell to dialogue with them to forestall further devastations of the area. Those contacted in Shell’s office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State via phone apart from concealing their identities also played some hide and seek games by referring NDPEHRD from one of their sections to another which yielded no result.

The spill occurred on August 25, 2003, and on September 5 and 16, 2003 respectively, traditional heads and leaders of the affected communities jointly sent out written reports and letters to the General Production Manager (East), Mr. Samuel E. Inyang, and pleaded for a “speedy and sincere clean up of the mess”.

On September 20, 2003, a delegation from Ogoni project section (OPS) in Shell, led by Mr. Soala Robinson visited the affected communities, though, according to our volunteers in the communities, revealed that the Robinson was Shell-shocked over the enormity and magnitude of devastation. He reportedly told the people in his office in Port Harcourt after the field trip, that no compensation would be paid because it was “caused by sabotage or third party interference” even though the communities repeatedly lamented to NDPEHRD that it was not sabotage as Shell claims.

POSTSCRIPT
Oil spill wreck Ijaw community

Another major and devastating spill has also occurred at Ede/Epie Imiringi community (of Ijaw ethnic nationality) few kilometers away from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital. The disaster occurred when a caterpillar owned by an SPDC contractor ruptured Shell’s pipeline delivering petroleum products to its famous Gbaran oil field. Mangroves and flooded forests, tropical rain forests, swamps, fish are also dying in their numbers.

Act now, send protest letters, ask Shell to clean their mess and spare the rural people the agonies. Insist on corporate responsibility and respect for the environment and people.

For more information, please contact:
Cletus B. Kiele, Information Officer, Niger Delta Project For Environment, Human Rights and Development
(NDPEHRD), 6, Obo Nwanboke Street (Post Office Building),
P. O. BOX 590,
Ogale-Nchia,
Eleme Local Government Area,
Rivers State, Nigeria.
Email: nigerdeltaproject@yahoo.com
—–SAMPLE LETTER—–

Samuel E. Inyang,
General Manager Production (East),
Shell Petroleum Development Company
Nigeria Limited (SPDC),
P. O. Box 263,
Port Harcourt,
Rivers State,
Nigeria.

Dear Sir,

CLEAN UP THE SPILLS, AND SAVE OUR MANGROVE FORESTS, CREEKS, FISHES AND CRABS FROM FURTHER EXTINCTION.

Again, I am compelled to remind you of your latest spills, which occurred at your aged pipe from the Bomu manifold in K-Dere community in the Gokana Local Government Area of Ogoni, Rivers State. And, another spill recorded at Ede/Epie Imiringi community, (of Ijaw ethic nationality), few kilometers away from, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital. The latter occurred when a caterpillar belonging to one of your contractors ruptured the pipeline delivering crude oil to your Gbaran oil field in the area.

As you are aware, I am gravely concerned about the huge environmental and hunger crisis which your spills had unleashed on the poverty-stricken rural population and their fragile environment and its resources such as mangrove forests, flood forests, tropical rain forests, creeks, fishes, crabs etc.

Most specifically, on the one in Ogoniland, I gathered that you are about to engage the services of an incompetent and inept contractor to do the clean up of the spill. However, the leaders and people of Bera, Kpor, Mogho, Goi, Bodo, Gbe and Bara-Nwezor community afflicted have expressed similar concerns by your spill.

Like other aggrieved locals from the affected Ogoni and Ijaw communities, I insist you do the right thing by carry out proper remediation measures to restore the ravaged environment and pay compensation to the people impoverished by your spill.

I urge you to overhaul your facilities in the area to forestall further environmental calamity and decay. Respect the rural people and their environment and avoid corporate dishonesty and irresponsibility.

Thanks,

Yours sincerely,

From “Patrick Naagbanton”

ASIA

S.E. ASIA

Useful Trainng Courses & Publications Coming Out of Thailand

RECOFTC Happenings

The following training courses are available, and you can still sign up for them. For more information, send a message indicating the course(s) you are interested in to contact@recoftc.org or visit www.recoftc.org

From: “MAP / S.E. Asia” mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

====================================

Indonesia

From Marine Finfish Aquaculture Network News

Indonesia to Host World Aquaculture Conference

- Denpasar, Oct 22 (ANTARA) – Bali will have the honour to host the World Aquaculture Conference in 2005, with 4000 to 5000 delegates coming from throughout the world attending, chief researcher of the Ministry of Marine and Fishery Affairs Dr. Hendroyono said at Taman Sari hotel, Buleleng regency, Bali, on Wednesday.

On the sideline of releasing 1000 kerapu fish and the handing over of two patrol boats by the Marine and Fishery Affairs Minister Rokhmin Dahuri respectively to the Bali provincial and Buleleng regency fishery offices, he said the international conference would have a very important and strategic significance to Indonesia. Indonesia is the world’s biggest archipelagic country, with 80 percent of its large territory consisting of sea water. Indonesia also has the highest number of islands totalling 17,508,large and small, the second longest and most beautiful coastline, totalling 81,000 km, and last but not least, the highest biological diversity in the world. He hoped that in the great international event Indonesia would introduce to the delegations its marine aquaculture and tourism potential, like the sea fishery research centre in Gondol, in Buleleng regency, which is currently being developed with the latest modern technology.

The other interesting part of the country’s marine tourism is the coral reef conservation in Pemutaran Bay, also in Buleleng regency, and the development of coral reefs with modern technology, the application of electricity to boost the growth of coral reefs, and the development of the pharmacological industry from marine resources. The building of marine and fishery research centres as well as other marine tourism means and facilities, is expected to be completed ahead of the international conference. He said the Gondol fishery and marine research centre is currently the biggest of its kind in South East Asia, as it is there that the kerapu, red snapper and in the future tuna are being bred.

“Among the other tropical countries, I think Indonesia is leading in the development of marine and fishery means and facilities in South East Asia.. Therefore it is not a surprise if many foreign partners have become interested in coming to Gondol to study the subject,” he added.
(Source: Antara – The Indonesian National News Agency October 22, 2003). For more information on the World Aquaculture Society conference, visit www.was.org

From: Marine Finfish Aquaculture Network grouper@enaca.org

============================

Burma (Myanmar)

Community Forestry E-News No. 2003.16
October 31, 2003
Published by the Regional Community Forestry Training Center
for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC)

A personal view: Community forestry in Myanmar

Tint Lwin Thaung, Freelance Consultant
Researcher, University of Queensland, Australia

The government of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, declared that it still has vast areas of forests that cover more than half of the country (Government Press conference on October 13, 2003). The forestry sector has been a major income source for successive rulers in Myanmar for centuries. Home to the commercially famous teak (Tectona grandis) and other valuable hardwood species, Myanmar’s forest resources are owned and strictly managed by the state under a scientific system introduced during the British colonial period.

Local participation in the management of forest resources has been rather limited in the country. However, the emergence of the taungya system set the milestone for community participation during the early 1900s. Practiced mainly by the Karens, local people are allowed to grow crops on state forestland as they tend to the teak plantations during the early stages of plantation establishment. Despite some weaknesses in the system, e.g. the lack of long-term tenure to access the state forests, it has given local people the opportunity to participate in forest resource management.

Myanmar�s forest management system has been evolving in tandem with local and global political and socioeconomic changes. The Burma Forest Act of 1902 was revised in 1992 and a New Forest Policy (1995) was formulated to adapt to current biophysical, socioeconomic and institutional trends. A remarkable outcome in the 1995 Policy was the systematic introduction of community forestry. In 2002, the Forest Department published a book containing guidelines and technical information on how local people can prepare a management plan and establish community forests.

However, many issues still have to be addressed, especially at the implementation stage. The global democratization trend in last century will have much impact on the participation of local people in forest resource management in developing countries. But the magnitude of the impact is debatable, particularly when grassroot-level power and authority are weak, and when the democratic principles and practices are generally absent. It will not be easy for Myanmar to shift to a decentralized system, an essential factor of community forestry, after four decades of strong centralized control.

During the last ten years, UNDP-Myanmar initiated many community-based projects throughout the country. There have been many good examples, particularly for establishing community forests. These project-based experiences can be extended to national-level activities. Clear statements of local communities’ rights and responsibilities for the long-term (preferably in the timeframe of generations) and increasing the capacity of local people will be essential components of successful community forest management in Myanmar. The communities must know what are their rights and how they can defend, protect, claim and manage these rights. Therefore, the role of organizations like RECOFTC is critical in training government staff and community workers/villagers to implement this challenging task.

Myanmar should not be excluded from the streams of technical assistance and regional cooperation due to its unfavorable political climate. Assistance for environmental or natural resource management is as equally important as humanitarian assistance and, it should be separated from economic sanctions. This is part of the democratization process in general, and Myanmar will need time to establish community forestry as a successful practice in the country.

For more information, please contact Tint Lwin Thaung
t.thaung@mailbox.uq.edu.au

From: “MAP / S.E. Asia” mapasia@loxinfo.co.th

====================================

Vietnam

Conservation and Development of Wetlands

A decision on the approval of the decree on the conservation and development of wetlands was signed by the Prime Minister Phan Van Khai on 23 September 2003. This is the first ever legal document on the management of wetlands. The decree provides an important legal basis for promoting sustainable management of wetlands in Vietnam.

Wetlands, as defined in the decree, include those with unique ecosystem and high biodiversity value, that balance water resource and ecological functions, and that are of national and international importance.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the national focal point
in the implementation of the Ramsar Convention, will play a state management
role in the conservation and sustainable exploitation of wetlands, including formulating policy and legislation on the conservation and sustainable utilisation of wetlands.

The decree stipulates that wetland conservation areas need to be managed and
restrictedly exploited. Constructions in the buffer zones that impact or potentially threaten wetland conservation areas are strictly prohibited. In special cases, when the constructions in the wetland conservation areas and their buffer zones are needed, prior approvals by the Prime Minister are required.

The decree also lays down that organizations and individuals who exploit resources on wetland areas take responsibility for protecting the uniqueness of the ecosystems and for conserving biodiversity. The state encourages wise uses of wetlands.

Following the Government Decree on the Conservation and Development of
Wetland Areas, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will issue
the “Strategic Action Plan on the Conservation and Sustainable Exploitation
of Wetlands to 2010″. This strategic action plan is an orientation document for the implementation of the Government Decree as well as Vietnam’s commitments under the Ramsar Convention. The action plan provides guidance for policy makers, managers and researchers in conserving and exploiting
wetlands in Vietnam.

In addition, in the next two years, Vietnam will make strong efforts to nominate three more Ramsar sites among 65 already identified nationally important wetland areas.

In conclusion, after more than 13 years since the time when Vietnam joined the Ramsar Convention, the first legal document on wetlands is adopted and a number of follow up activities will be carried out. This affirms the efforts of the Government of Vietnam in sustainable management of wetlands in
Vietnam as well as in fulfilling its commitments under the Ramsar Covention.

From Dwight Peck, Executive Assistant for CommunicationsThe Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) peck@ramsar.orG
============================

S. ASIA

India

India’s river-linking plan and Sundarbans’ dreadful fate

By DR. MOSTOFA SARWAR
URL: INDEPENDENT BANGLADESH
The Sundarban-Mangroves, unlike Steinbeck’s defamed “salt-water-eating bushes” of the Sea of Cortez, are a great forest treasure for Bangladesh and the rest of the world. In 1997, UNESCO awarded the Sundarban the accolade, “A World Heritage Site,” with the obvious implication that everything should be done to preserve this incredible wonder of nature, the world’s largest continuous mangrove stand. The Sundarban is a fascinating interface, where ocean and continent intermingle. India’s River Linking Plan, if implemented, will perhaps annihilate this unique treasure with its diverse plant and animal species, including mangroves and Royal Bengal Tigers.

The Sundarban, a National Park named after its dominant mangrove, Sundori (meaning beautiful), is one of the first government managed mangrove forests in the world and is located at the lower Ganges delta. This is the largest delta in the world, forming by the outpouring of sediments over many million years by the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, and the Meghna Rivers. The delta building is continuing with the world’s largest sediment load of almost 1 billion tons annually. The Sundarban occupies 2,254 square miles including land and water. The eastern 60 per cent is located in Bangladesh and the rest is in the West Bengal Province of India. Approximately one third of this magnificent forest is covered with distributaries, brackish marshes, and tidal estuaries. The Sundarban is a protective barrier against coastal erosion, cyclonic storms, and tidal surges. It produces great amounts of food, building materials, and fuel for the surrounding communities. This forest is unique in that it has no permanent human settlements except the housing for the forest rangers. Many species of mammals, reptiles, birds, fishes, etc., are the inhabitants of this majestic forest. This forest is the largest remaining habitat of the celebrated Royal Bengal Tiger, which is now an endangered species.

The Sudarban can be divided, on the basis of salinity and plant ecology, into three zones with overall dominance of the Sundori in freshwater zone in the northeastern part, Gewa in the mild saltwater zone in the middle, and Goran in the saltwater zone near the coastline. All three prominent mangroves and Golpata Palm grow throughout the forest, but their concentration and height depend on salinity. The Sundarban has a wide variety of biota supported by a complex and dynamic eco-environment, the main sustenance of this system being the flow of freshwater by the distributaries of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Rivers.

Imagine a world 70 million years ago, when the Indian tectonic plate was almost at the end of its arduous odyssey from the Super Continent, Pangea, formidable dinosaurs were about to become extinct, and tigers including other carnivores began evolving from animals called miacidae. After long evolution, modern-day tigers evolved in Asia, and early tiger fossils dating 500 thousand years B.P. have been found in China and Siberia. Almost 65 million years ago, mangroves appeared in the Indo-Malayan realm. Mangroves (dispersing through the ocean water) and tigers (roaming through the primordial land) took many million years to come to their present being in the Sundarban. Human intervention in the form of India’s River Linking Plan threatens to undo this incredible crafting of evolution, and destroy this superb ecosystem. Would it not also be a travesty against human dignity and a contemptible act of infinite proportion?

The Sundarban has undergone significant changes during the last 500 years, because the Ganges changed its course three times. Before the 16th century, the trunk stream of the Ganges was the Bhagirathi and the Hoogly, the Bhairab being the main delta-building spill river. In the 16th century, joining with Brahmaputra, the Ganges changed its principal channel to the Madaripur Course (Arial Khan River). In the eighteen-thirties to eighteen-forties the last course change took place. The Padma (combined Ganges-Brahmaputra) and Meghna joined to form the present trunk stream, Meghna, which is also the main delta-building river. Meandering and changing course by a river are common in flat topography. But this eastward shifting of the Ganges is due to the uplifting of the western Sundarban relative to the global sea level. What is the cause of this uplifting? This is a natural process, far beyond the domain of human intervention, and the main cause is the isostatic imbalance of the Himalayan Mountains and the Indian Tectonic Plate. This shifting has been responsible for silting of rivers in the western Sundarban, and an increase in freshwater flow down the rivers in the Bangladesh part of the Sundarban. Remember, this has been a natural process, not a man-made one. Nevertheless, this is a suitable model to assess the impact of fresh water flow on the plant ecology of the Sundarban.

The Farakka Barrage across the Ganges, located 11 miles from Bangladesh border, became operational in 1975. Diverting the water flow to Bhagirathi-Hoogly distributaries of West Bengal, India has reduced the freshwater flow in the lower reaches of the Ganges through Bangladesh. This has led to the salinity intrusion a few hundred miles upstream during the dry season, changing the salinity regime of the Sundarban. The immediate casualty is the Sundori of Sundarban. It is reported with depressing anguish from several places of less saline northeastern Sudarban, where Sundori achieves its maximum height, that this majestic tree is dying with the blight, starting at its top. In several places with the worsening situation of freshwater flow to the forest due to India’s diversion at Farakka Barrage, the Golpata and other plant species are also being affected. The monsoon flood overflow is unable to stop this pitiful decay of Sundori and other plants because the damage inflicted during the dry season is irreversible. In fact, Sundori’s progressive rot has a direct correlation to the eco-environmental change of Sundarban due to the withdrawal of water by India at the Farakka point. Similar effects have been experienced in other countries of the world like Pakistan and Vietnam. This damage is not stopping at Sundori, but will ultimately extend its deadly tentacles to this forest’s entire biota.

Now one can see the immensity of the impending doom if India’s River Linking plan is executed. (I wrote in detail of the Indian Plan in my article “India’s river linking plan: Consequence on major fisheries of Bangladesh,” on September 19th in a Dhaka daily.) This new plan will divert huge amounts of water from the rivers of Bangladesh. The already existing problems of Sundarban caused by Farakka Barrage will increase many-fold. The killer bite to the agriculture, forestry, fishery, public health, livelihood, environment, and wildlife of Bangladesh by this recently proposed River Linking Plan would be many magnitudes higher than that of the Farakka Barrage. According to this stupendous plan (with a price tag more than 112 billion US dollars), India would link thirty rivers including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and the southern rivers of Deccan Peninsula, and divert one-third of the water from the Ganges and Bramhaputra for irrigating the arid western states and semi-arid southern states — all at a colossal cost to Bangladesh. If the world community does not stop this na�ve and dangerous Indian Plan, the enchanting Sundori-Mangrove, awesome Royal Bengal Tiger, and other wonderful species — Nature’s incredible craftsmanship through many million years — would be lost in oblivion.

[The writer is Professor of Geophysics, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70148, USA]

From: Zakir Kibria

==========================

Bangladesh

Farmers cry for virus-free shrimp cultivation in southwestern region

BSS, DHAHA, October 26
Shrimp cultivators, overturned by repeated virus attacks, are aggressively looking for a sustainable solution to minimize their huge losses undermining the traditional farming system in the country.
Around 1,45,000 farmers, who produce 30,000 metric tonnes of shrimps annually under traditional methods, are in deep crisis for last seven years because of continuous virus attacks in their firms, shrimp processors and farmers say.
“We have become bankrupt and hopeless because of repeated losses from regular virus attacks since 1996. None came forward to our rescue,” said a farmer of Fatehpur area under Bagerhat Sadar Upazila Saturday.
Mina Afzal Hossain (45) told BSS that he had lost his entire savings and assets to get a good return from shrimp cultivation, but all went in vain due to attacks of “yellow head virus” and “white spot virus”.
“I’ve got only 5 kgs of black tiger shrimp from my three acres of firm during last harvest.”

Shrimp industry, covering 1,90,000 hectares in southwestern and southeastern coastal region, meets 2.5 percent of global exports. It has earned 278.12 million US dollars in 2002, according to an official statistics.
Commercial shrimp cultivation began in mid seventies and remained virus free for two decades. The major export earning industry started facing deep crisis when unscrupulous traders imported virus-affected shrimps from Thailand during a fry crisis in 1996.
Shrimp Seal of Quality (SSOQ) has, however, came forward with a new technology to divert farmers from traditional farming. It costs are a bit higher, but protects farmers from total loss of money.
The SSOQ, which provides quality certification for international shrimp exports, has selected three model firms in Bagerhat to attract frustrated farmers in virus-free shrimp cultivation. It would be expanded to other firms in phases, concerned aqua-culturists hoped.
Agro-based Technology Development Programme (ATDP), a USAID funded project, is providing technical assistance to SSOQ for the promotion of virus-free shrimp farming in Bangladesh.
ATDP experts said the new cultivation method could yield production three to five times higher than traditional farming.

It not only produces high quantity in small areas, but also protects environment, labour rights and investments from high risks.
The technology proved crucial for Bangladesh as international buyers have imposed certain restrictions to buy shrimps from Bangladesh. They have asked for high quality and virus-free shrimps, said a processor in Khulna.
The SSOQ is trying to promote the technology in southwestern greater Khulna district, where 80 percent shrimps are being produced. Twenty-percent shrimp produced in southeastern Cox�s Bazar district, sources said. “This is a proven technology and is being widely used in major shrimp exporting countries including Thailand,” ATDP expert Glen Bieber told BSS at a Rampal model firming site. The initial cost might be higher under new technology, but it is the only way to save the shrimp sector in Bangladesh, he observed.
Halim Patwari, owner of a SSOQ model firm, said the cost could be minimized in new technology if feed is produced locally. Imported shrimp feed costs Tk 75 per kg, but it could be reduced to Tk 25 to 30 under local production.
Traditional method contributed for us a lot for 20 years, but we have lost the god-gifted opportunity by our own people who imported virus affected shrimp fries in mid nineties, Halim said. “So it is the turn of the whole nation to compensate the misdeeds,” he added.

URL: NEW AGE BD
From: Zakir Kibria banglapraxis@yahoo.com
=============================

Shrimp sector awaits big boost

New environment-friendly cultivation method to raise yield by 5 to 7 times

By Abdul Kader, back from Bagerhat
A newly introduced cultivation system will revolutionise shrimp production, increasing yield of the second largest export industry by five to seven times.

The system is environment-friendly and produces virus-free shrimps. It is easier than the traditional system followed in the southwestern region of the country.

Production per hectare in the new method is estimated at around 1.8 tons (18 hundred kgs), said experts of the Shrimp Seal of Quality (SSOQ), which is providing technical support to farmers. The assistance is being provided under the Agro-based Technology Development Programme (ATDP), a USAID-financed project.

The new cultivation system, which is being widely followed by most of the shrimp exporting countries including Thailand, is important for Bangladesh as foreign buyers have imposed restriction on shrimp import from Bangladesh and are asking for virus-free good quality shrimp, said an expert of SSOQ.

In the new system, shrimp is cultivated in blocked pond water. It ensures environment-friendly cultivation by saving trees and paddy fields in surrounding area and keeping fertility of land and other fish species intact, said the experts.

The water of the pond has to be replaced after certain periods, which needs a reservoir.

SSOQ experts are now providing technical support to farmers in greater Khulna region where 80 per cent of the country’s shrimp is produced.

“In the traditional system, I got only five kilograms of shrimp from about 3.5 acres of land last year because of virus-infection. But this year, using the new method, I am expecting 10 to 12 maunds from only .5 acres,” said farmer Mina Afzal Hossain at Fatehpur in Bagerhat Sadar.

He was talking to a group of reporters who visited the area on Saturday.

Hailm Patwari, who received training in Thailand also expressed similar views regarding production. But he said the cost of shrimp feed in the new system is higher than in the traditional system because it is imported from Thailand.

It costs Tk 75 per kg. It will be Tk 30 to 35 per kg if produced in the country, he said.
Virus infection of shrimp is widespread in Bagerhat region, which discourages its cultivation.

According to official data, Bangladesh now produces around 30,000 metric tons of shrimp annually in about one lakh ninety thousand hectares in the southwestern and southeastern coastal regions. This is 2.5 per cent of the global export.

According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh earned 278.12 million dollars in 2002 by exporting 68.36 millions pounds of shrimp.

URL: THE DAILY STAR
From: Zakir Kibria

LATIN AMERICA

Ecuador

Request for Support From Coordinador Nacional

We appreciate very much the solidarity shown by many of you, by sending letters to us and to our deputies in support of the Law (for conservation of mangroves) , and for the support received for yesterday’s demonstration.

Since this second debate of the Law will continue in 15 days, it will be compulsory to make another mobilization to the capital so that the coastal mangrove communities will reach again the National Congress in order to finally approve this law.

Therefore, we have a new mobilization ahead, and we haven’t been able to manage the funding for the first one, that’s why we appeal to your support.

We have already received support from SWISSAID, $1000 USD
And Accion Ecologica supported us with $350

We hope that more organizations can join us in this effort. You can also help us with information, addresses of possible donors, etc.

We believe that this citizen mobilization is necessary. Yesterday the presence of the communities at the National Congress made it possible to change the agenda of the deputies and put in first place the Law of the Mangroves that was previously scheduled as a second point to be discussed. In this sense, the next mobilization will guarantee that definitely OUR LAW will be approved.

In solidarity,

Lider Gongora
President C-Condem

From: “Coordinadora Nacional para la Defensa del Manglarr

STORIES/ISSUES

Privatization of World’s Waterways Criticized

People’s National Water Forum
URL: CITIZEN.ORG

The Rashtriya Jal Biradari, the National Network of Water Conservation movement convened by the Tarun Bharat Sangh and the Jal Swaraj Abhiyan, the National Water Liberation – Water Rights Movement convened by Navdanya/ Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology co-organized a two-day gathering of water experts and water activists to address urgent water issues
including privatization and river linking.

The People’s National Water Forum was organized at the end of phase one of the national Jal Yatra launched by Rajendra Singh, Magasasay Award winner for 2001, which has already covered Gujarat,
Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Orissa and Uttaranchal and will be going through the rest of India to create awareness on water conservation and water privatization. Mr. Ambuj Kishor of Tarun Bharat Sangh, Dr. Parivesh Mishra of Madhya Pradesh, Arjun
Kaka of Aravari River Sansad, and Mr. Aditya
Patnaik of Rossa gave reports of water in their regions.

The People’s Forum is also the national mobilization of public opinion and articulation of the public interest prior to the Third World Water Forum being
organised in Kyoto from 16th to 23rd March
2003 in Japan, which many participants of Jal Biradari and Jal Swaraj Abhiyan including Rajendra Singh of Tarun Bharat Sangh will be attended.

The Forum was attended more than 100 key activists and experts belonging to about 40 groups, institutions, organisations and movements from different parts on India.

Dr. Vandana Shiva opened the meeting with an overview of the positive initiatives being undertaken by people through water harvesting as in Rajasthan and promotion of water prudent organic farming by Navdanya across the country. She also identified the two major threats to water resources and people water rights in the form of water privatization and the project for linking India’s rivers.

The keynote address was given by Mr. Oscar Olivera of the Coalition for the Defense ofWater and Life (La Coordinadora) in Bolivia which fought against water privatization, drove out Bechtel and is now under taking water planning and water management
for Cochabanba. Oscar inspired the Indian
movements with the success of the Bolivian people which showed that water privatization is not inevitable. Water Privatization is not inevitable. Water belongs to the Earth and all people, defending water as a common good is the ultimate democratic challenge of our times. A global citizens movement is emerging against water privatization.

Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna of the Chipko Movement, who continues to sit as a witness on the banks of the Bhagirathi while the ravages of the Tehri Dam destroy the most sacred of our rivers and the entire fabric of society in Bhagirathi Valley, traveled to Delhi with Ganga Yatra. While the women of the villages around the Dam site are denied water, 635 million liters of Ganga water are committed to the French multinational Suez for selling in Delhi through the Sonia Vihar plant. From Tehri through Haridwar and Western Uttar Pradesh a movement of the people is growing against the privatization of Ganga. Representatives of the movement of displaced people from Tehri (Kishor
Upadhyay, MLA Tehri), and farmers (Dehat Morcha) presented their case at the Forum. Col.
Sureshwar Sinha of Panni Morcha showed that Delhi water needs can be met through Delhi water supply if the present culture and policy of pollution and waste was replaced by a culture and policy of conservation and cleaning.

Case studies of privatization of river Sheonath by Radial Company was presented by Shri Binayak Sen of Chattisgarh. The case studies of water theft by coca cola and other bottled water companies were also presented which showed that they draw huge quantity of water without paying a single penny. Azadi Bachao Andolan presented its campaigning against Coal Cola and Pepsi. Participants
made a commitment to spread a movement against growing dependency on bottled water.

Participants condemned the governments commitment on water privatization in its new water policy. They also condemned the use of NGO and panchayats to undermine community rights and collective management of water through setting up water users
associations, Pani Panchayats etc. Mr. Anil
Choudhury of PEACE in the opening session said that community rights were being assaulted by suing the language of “community”. The case of the
privatization of the Orissa Lift Irrigation under the garb of Pani Panchayat revealed the double speak of government. Representatives from Punjab shared the news of the new campaign against privatization called TUTI BACHAOO MORCHA (Save
our Public Taps movement). The commitment was made to spread these movements in other areas where Swajal and Swajal Dhara are becoming indirect means to privatization.

The mega scheme of linking rivers is also a scheme for privatization since Rs. 560,000 crores is not available in the country and will have to be raised through loansand FDI which will lock the country into privatization. The non-transparency and
irregularity with which this project is being rushed threw doubts on its viability and its scientific basis. The movements for water rights made a commitment to assess and evaluate the project, provide alternatives and create resistance if wasteful river diversion schemes are implemented without eoples
consent, popular support and adequate
environmental impact assessment. Prof. Amaswamy Iyer, Former Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, gave an overview of lack of homework that has gone into this megaproject which has been imposed on the country without having gon through the mandatory planning process.
Participants from Orissa, Mr. Prafulla Samantra, Dr. Ashok Panigrahi showed that the Mahanadi which is being treated as a surplus river has no water. The very categories of “water surplus” and “water
deficit rivers” on which river linking is based is therefore in doubt. The Jal Yatra will be undertaking on the ground assessment of the real state of our rivers so that the people of India are not dependent on false and unreliable data.

Participants also issued a Declaration of their common principles and common commitment to keep water as a common good. Please click here to view.

For more information please contact:

Jal Swaraj Abhiyan
Navdanya / RFSTE
A – 60, Hauz Khas
New Delhi – 110016 – INDIA
Tel: 0091-11-26562093, 26561868
Fax: 0091-11-26562093, 26856795

E From: Zakir Kibria mail: rfste@vsnl.com

===========================

Note: How these kinds of river diversions described below will affect the river estuaries and mangrove forest ecosystems can only be guessed at, but the disturbance of natural hydrology can have far reaching, disastrous consequences for the ecology of the affected coastal zones as well as the entire upland river systems so altered. This is an example of why a “mountains-to-sea” approach, or an integrated ecosystem approach to conservation, needs to be incorporated in any carefully managed developmentplan to avoid such calamities downstream.

The Assam Tribune

Guwahati, Sunday, November 2, 2003

CHINA PLANNING TO DIVERT BRAHMAPUTRA

Kalyan Barooah

New Delhi, Nov. 1 � India may have grand plans to inter-link all major rivers in the country but so does China, as the country has drawn up its own road map to divert rivers originating in Tibet including the mighty Brahmaputra, putting a question mark on India�s plan.

Recognition of Sikkim as part of India and the sudden keenness to improve bilateral relations with India by resolving all contentious issues including the boundary disputes may be part of a tactical move by China to divert India�s attention or so experts believe. While Indian plan to complete the project by 2013, China envisages completing its project by 2009.

New Delhi may have so far managed to keep all troublesome issues at bay but one thing is certain, its grandiose plans to interlink rivers is spiralling out of control threatening to become a cause of international row. Bangladesh has already threatened to move International Court of Justice at Hague if it goes ahead with the river-linking project unilaterally.

The 35th round of Indo-Bangladesh Joint River Commission meeting held in September had failed to make much headway because of Bangladesh Government�s insistence on inclusion of the river-linking project in the agenda.

But discovering that China also has grand design on linking rivers Bangladesh Government has hinted its willingness to join hands to raise the issue at international forum to stop China from choking sources of major rivers that is its lifeline as well as India�s North Eastern Region�s.

The issue has been taken so seriously that experts from Bangladesh briefed selective Indian journalists, this week, about the impact of the Chinese Project.

The Tibetan Plateau in China as the principal watershed in Asia and the source of its 10 major rivers, including the Brahmaputra known as the Yarlung or Tsangpo in Tibet, the Sutlej and the Indus. An estimated 90 per cent of the Tibetan rivers� runoff flows downstream to India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

But for the North Eastern Region, the major concern would be the bid to divert Brahmaputra River.

According to reports, when Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee was visiting Beijing this June, a team of experts in China was conducting feasibility study on construction of a major hydropower project on the Brahmaputra River in the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

Experts analysed that China’s move might not only be harmful for the environment but also to national security. India has after hesitating for years proposed to invest over Rs. 25,000 crores in the Region setting up mega-hydel projects on Brahmaputra.

Originating in China-held Tibet, Brahmaputra River is the largest river running 2,056 kilometres in Tibet before flowing into India. It has been discovered recently that the river�s gorge forms the longest and deepest canyon in the world.

At the Great Bend, China plans to construct world�s largest hydroelectric plant to generate 40,000 megawatts of electricity. Also the diverted water will be pumped northward across hundreds of kilometres of mountainous region to China’s arid North Western provinces of Xinjiang and Gansu (Gobi desert).

Bangladesh experts fear that both India and Bangladesh would ever be at the mercy of China which for its own interests could withhold water for power generation and irrigation during the dry season and release water during the flood season with catastrophic consequences for eastern South Asia.

As for the source of information, Bangladesh experts claimed that a German TV has recently done a documentary on the issue and National Geographic magazine had probed and reported the matter, as had a British Science journal. In 1990, the Chinese Government decided to permit a team from National Geographic to explore the Grand Canyon first time.

Meanwhile, top official of the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) when contacted underplayed the issue, saying that they were aware of the reports of China’s plan to construct a hydel project in the upper reaches though they was nothing to indicate that it was concrete. However, it was denied that there was move to divert Brahmaputra.

“Every country has its own plans on developing its river network, as does China,” he said, adding that such reports do keep emanating from time-to-time.

The report on China’s move to interlink rivers in Tibetan plateau was first flashed byCarnegie Endowment and this has been posted in their website too, the official said.

It may be recalled here that few years ago a hue-and-cry was raised after a British Science journal had reported that China was planning to divert Brahmaputra using nuclear explosives.

Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics in Beijing, which studied this project had reportedly recommended this peaceful use of nuclear device, the London based Science Journal had claimed, which was subsequently denied by China.

But in 1998-1999, an unprecedented round of flood that wreaked havoc in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam was traced to a deliberate act of blasting of a dam in Tibet by the Chinese Army to study its impact on the lower reaches. At least four strategic bridges in Arunachal Pradesh bordering China were washed away cutting off the State from rest of the country besides leaving behind a trail of destruction.

The incident prompted India to approach China and a formal agreement on sharing flood forecasting information was signed by the two countries.

From: Zakir Kibria

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Livelihoods Connect. This site, which has been developed by DFID and IDS, has a large collection of documents and a guide to organisations involved in sustainable livelihoods. www.livelihoods.org

The site of the UNDP Sustainable Livelihoods Unit provides access to numerous strategy papers, field guides and workshop reports.

The Overseas Development Institute has published briefing papers on sustainable livelihoods, although they are not collected in one place on the website. Use the search tool to get a list of ‘livelihoods’ documents. www.odi.org.uk

From: “Ben Brown”

=========================

World Wetlands Day Preparations Begin

2 February each year is World Wetlands Day, marking the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971. WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997, and each year, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have
taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular. From 1997 to 2003, the Convention’s Web site has posted reports from more than 80 countries of WWD activities of all sizes and shapes, and the Ramsar Bureau has provided materials free of charge to help planners get the greatest effect from their activities. This year the Bureau has prepared a poster on the theme of “From the mountains to the sea
– Wetlands at work for us”, a new 3-fold leaflet “Working for Wetlands”,
and a new sticker, all of them in English, Fran�ais, and Espa�ol. View these
new materials, and if you think that they will help you to get your wetland message across, follow the directions on ordering that you’ll find on that page. All of these hardcopy materials are also available on CD-ROM in Quark XPress format so that you can if you wish amend them to suit your own circumstances and produce versions of your own, and limited quantities of WWD materials from past years can also be
requested. But hurry!

The general index page for World Wetlands Day this year can be found at WEBSITE.

From: PECK Dwight – Ramsar

CONFERENCES/WORKSHOPS/FORUMS/BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS

SOUTHEAST ASIAN CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES MANAGEMENT AND TRADE

Monday November 10, 2003
Event Location: Cavite City, Philippines

Notes:
Oxfam International in cooperation with the Tambuyog Development Center/Philippines is organising a Southeast Asian Conference on Sustainable Fisheries Management and Trade for national fishers’ federations, NGO partners and Oxfam staff with the main objective of educating partners on the inter-relationship of sustainable fisheries management, subsidies and trade. For further information contact Ephraim Patrick T. Batungbacal, e-mail: sonny@tambuyog.org
From: mritchie@iatp.org

==========================

Two New Publications

Publication on Ecosystem Approach

IUCN issues book on ecosystem approach
IUCN-The World Conservation Union has published a new book intended to contribute to the implementation of Decision V/6 (2000) of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Written by Richard D. Smith and Ed Maltby, “Using the
Ecosystem Approach to Implement the Convention on Biological Diversity: Key Issues and Case Studies” (softcover, 118 pages) lays out the lessons learn from a series of three regional workshops that were held in Southern Africa,
South America, and Southeast Asia in 2000, coordinated by the CBD secretariat and the Royal Holloway Institute for Environmental Research in London on behalf of WWF International, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) with the support of the IUCN regional offices. The clearly written book will appeal both to
those seeking to understand better the concept and application of the ecosystem approach and to those drawn to the 26 case studies from those regions. This addition to the conservationist’s library can be ordered from the IUCN Publications Services Unit in Cambridge, UK ( www.iucn.org/bookstore ).

=====

Publication on “Wetlands and Agriculture”

At the Global Biodiversity Forum 17 associated with Ramsar’s COP8 in Valencia, Spain, last November, a number of excellent papers were presented to a workshop on “Agriculture, Wetlands, and Water Resources” and resulted in GBF input to what became Ramsar Resolution VIII.34 “Agriculture, wetlands, and water resource management” adopted by COP8. The workshop itself was sponsored by the GBF, IUCN, the International Agricultural Centre
(IAC), the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Wetlands International, and Slovenia’s Ministry of Environment. The proceedings of this workshop, including the texts and illustrations of 19 papers presented
by such authors as Brij Gopal, David Lindley, Inga Racinska, and Alfredo Quarto amongst others (and the text of Resolution VIII.34), edited by Rachel Wiseman, Doug Taylor, and Henk Zingstra, were first published in the
International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Studies, vol. 29, nos.
1-2, and have now been re-issued as a 122-page softcover monograph by
International Scientific Publications and the National Institute of Ecology in New Delhi, with financial support from the International Agricultural Centre in Wageningen, The Netherlands ( www.iac.wur.nl ). More
information can be sought from Henk Zingstra ( henk.zingstra@wur.nl ).

From: PECK Dwight – Ramsar

==========================

World Atlas of Seagrasses

Edited by Edmund P. Green and Frederick T. Short, November 2003 Published by The University of California Press 310 pages, 8-1/4 x 11-5/8 inches, 64 color maps, 118 color photographs, 396 line drawings, 48 tables
Seagrasses, a group of about sixty species of underwater marine flowering plants, grow in the shallow marine and estuary environments of all the world’s continents except Antarctica. The primary food of animals such as manatees, dugongs, green sea turtles, and critical habitat for thousands of other animal and plant species, seagrasses are also considered one of the most important shallow-marine ecosystems for humans since they play an important role in fishery production. Though they are highly valuable ecologically and economically, many seagrass habitats around the world have been completely destroyed or are now in rapid decline. The World Atlas of Seagrasses is the first authoritative and comprehensive global synthesis of the distribution and status of
this critical marine habitat–which, along with mangroves and coral reefs, has been singled out for particular attention by the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity.

Illustrated throughout with color maps, photographs, tables, and more, and written by a large team of international collaborators, this unique volume covers seagrass ecology, scientific studies to date, current status, changing distributions, threatened areas, and conservation and management efforts for twenty-four regions of the world. As human
populations expand and continue to live disproportionately in coastal areas, bringing new threats to seagrass habitat, a comprehensive overview of coastal resources and critical habitats is more important than ever. The World Atlas of Seagrasses will stimulate new research, conservation, and management efforts, and will help better focus priorities at the international level for these vitally important coastal ecosystems.

ABOUT THE EDITORS
Edmund P. Green heads the UNEP-WCMC’s Marine and Coastal Programme and is coauthor with Mark D. Spalding and Corinna Ravilious of World Atlas of Coral Reefs (California, 2001). Frederick T. Short is Research Professor of Natural Resources at the University of New Hampshire and coeditor of Global Seagrass Research Methods (2001). The World Atlas of Seagrasses is available from the publisher.
Clothbound: $60.00 0-520-24047-2 $39.95

For more information about the Atlas, including maps and photographs.

Originaly From: Russ Cullinane coasia@indo.net.id

From: “Ben Brown”

AQUACULTURE CORNER

Labor department: Farmed fish sinking Alaska fishermen

Anchorage Daily News

October 14, 2003

The number of commercial salmon fishermen plying Alaska waters has plummeted 37 percent in the last decade as cheaper farm-raised salmon flooded the market, the state labor department said.

As the farmed salmon industry enjoyed a meteoric rise, Alaska’s wild salmon industry plunged, the department said in the October issue of its magazine, Alaska Economic Trends.
Farm-raised salmon represented only 1 percent of the world’s production in 1980 but has since grown to represent three of every five fish, said labor economist Neal Gilbertsen.

The farmed salmon industry is expected to continue to be a powerful influence on prices even as Alaska continues a ban on salmon farms.

“With or without Alaska’s participation, the industry will continue to grow, and farmed salmon will continue to dominate both world markets and prices,” Gilbertsen said.

The analysis by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development shows how hard the state’s fishing industry has struggled. Among its findings:

- The number of salmon fishermen fell from 10,487 in 1990 to 6,567 in 2002.

- The Alaska salmon harvest in 1990 was 302,600 metric tons valued at $559 million. It fell in 2002 to 238,000 metric tons valued at $130 million.

- Limited entry fishing permits fell in value 84 percent during those years so that a generic salmon permit lost about $91,347.

“This loss of equity, which for self-employed fishermen is equivalent to retirement accounts, will continue to reverberate throughout the Alaska economy in coming years,” Gilbertsen said.

The economic losses have ricocheted through coastal communities as fewer fishermen have caused a decline in both crews and shore-based services. Monthly employment in the state’s seafood processing industry fell from 11,200 in 1992 to 7,400 in 2002.

Chile and Canada are the two major suppliers to the U.S. market of farm-raised salmon. The two countries accounted for 94 percent of the Atlantic pen-reared salmon, valued at $818 million.

Canada is a partner in the North American Free Trade Agreement, which removed certain trade barriers, and Chile has fewer environmental regulations and cheap labor, the analysis showed.

“The fact that Canada is a NAFTA partner, and that the U.S. has just approved a bilateral free trade agreement with Chile, would seem to indicate that these imports will continue to grow,” Gilbertsen said.

Farmed fish also made serious inroads into salmon markets abroad. In the period from 1990 to 1995, the annual sale of Alaska salmon to Japan amounted to more than $1 billion a year, hitting $1.56 billion in 1992.

Since then, annual sales have fallen 55 percent in value, coming in at $707..8 million in 2002, according to the magazine.

Most of the questions deal with possible environmental effects of a fish farm, the expertise of people involved and distribution of fish harvested, said Jody Symons, the company’s lead partner.

The farming operation is planned for a site 33 miles west-southwest of Johns Pass. The company wants to raise cobia, mahi mahi, greater amberjack, Florida pompano and red snapper in as many as eight huge, anchored cages.

If a permit for the two-year project is approved, it would be one of the few offshore fish-farming businesses in the country.

Symons, a retired Motorola Corp. manager, said Florida Offshore Aquaculture will submit its answers to the council and the National Marine Fisheries Service as part of the permit approval process.

“The environmental assessment has most of the answers to the questions, but we will answer everything,” he said. “Anything can happen, but I don’t think the permit will be stopped.”

The company has consultants, including DNA testing experts and biologists, poised to begin work and provide the necessary oversight for the project, Symons said.

“The agency supports mariculture, but it needs to be done properly,” said Peter Eldridge, fishery management specialist at National Marine Fisheries Service in St. Petersburg. “It is an important and controversial issue.”

From: SeaWeb Aquaculture Clearinghouse sac_news@topica.email-publisher.com

U.S. Salmon Network 

Posted: 10/29/2003 By bbelton@iatp.org
====================================

Wild salmon at risk from escapees

By JOHN ROSS
A NEW report claims that interbreeding between farmed and wild stocks could wipe out vulnerable Atlantic salmon populations.

An estimated two million salmon escape each year from fish farms in the north Atlantic, the equivalent of about half the total number of wild adult salmon in the sea.

Scottish Executive figures show there were 450,000 escapes from Scottish fish farms last year and so far this year there have been 96,000.

According to a ten-year study by scientists in Ireland, the genetic make-up of wild stock is affected when they breed with cultivated salmon, potentially reducing survival rates.

Professor Andrew Ferguson from Queen’s University Belfast and Dr Philip McGinnity from the Galway-based Marine Institute, led the study using salmon research facilities on the Burrishoole river system in Co Mayo.

Prof Ferguson said: “Escaped salmon can enter rivers where they interbreed with wild salmon, thereby potentially changing the genetic make-up of wild populations of Atlantic salmon. The importance of such changes in the survival of the remaining wild populations has been a matter of debate for the past decade but little scientific evidence has been available – until now,” he said.

‘Escaped salmon are potentially changing the genetic make-up of wild populations’ PROFESSOR ANDREW FERGUSON Wild salmon at risk from escapees

Dr Paulo Prodohl, one of the researchers with the project, the results of which were published in the scientific journal Royal Society London Proceedings B, said the experiment showed that farmed salmon have both genetic and competitive impacts on wild populations.

“The results of this project have provided a convincing and clear warning to the people involved. The farm industry is now starting to address the problem and work together with the government to avoid such high numbers of escapes and we hope that it will become more controlled,” he said.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust says it is concerned by the report. It says while Scottish Quality Salmon (SQS), the industry promotional body, has issued guidelines on containment, many fish farms are not members of the body.

But SQS says there is little evidence to suggest that fish-farm escapes even end up in Scottish rivers. Brian Simpson, SQS’s chief executive, said: “In reality, farmed salmon have poor chances of survival once they escape. In fact, only 191 farmed salmon were among the 57,920 wild salmon and grilse caught by anglers in the recently published 2002 Scottish statistics.

“If, as the report suggests, the degree of impact is directly related to the abundance of farm escapees and the relative wild spawning stock, proactive river stock restoration with wild fish strains, such as that done in Scotland, would counter this.

“Of course, everyone is working to avoid escapes of farmed salmon, not least salmon farmers, and there are stringent SQS codes of practice to minimise this occurrence with our member companies.”

Mr Simpson added: “Scottish Quality Salmon member companies will continue to collaborate with river owners and fisheries trusts, and look forward to playing an active part in the protection of Scotland’s wild salmon stocks.”

SQS says a number of other factors can affect the decline of wild salmon stocks, including over-fishing, illegal angling techniques, rising sea and river temperatures, lack of food, predators, poaching, pollution and river rerouting.

This article:

SCOTSMAN

From: bbelton@iatp.org

=============================

NY Times Ad Condemns Farmed Salmon Sales

An ad placed in the NYTIMES by the Canadian “Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform” appeared today October 31. The add says “Salmon raised on farms are very different than wild salmon. For starters,
they’re raised in floating feedlots that pollute the ocean. They’re fed chemical additives to make their flesh pink like wild salmon’s. Antibiotics and pesticides are used to control disease outbreaks on the farms. If that’s not bad enough, farmed salmon contain disturbing levels of PCBs. Despite human health and environmental concerns, many restaurants and stores are still willing to sell farmed salmon to you — including some health and and natural food stores you’ve come to trust. And that’s enough to make
anyone lose their appetite.”

The ad goes on to say “Tell these stores to stop selling farmed salmon:
visit: www.farmedanddangerous.org

WHOLE FOODS
SAFEWAY
KROGER
TRADER JOE’S
ALBERTSON’S
COSTCO

ARE LISTED.

From Dr. Michael Skladany
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
e-mail: mskladany@iatp.org

==============================

GLOBE and MAIL
Farmed salmon come under fire

By JANE ARMSTRONG
Friday, October 31, 2003 – Page A7

VANCOUVER — Taking a page from the lesson book of anti-logging campaigns, a B.C. coalition has purchased an ad in The New York Times urging U.S. supermarkets to stop selling farmed salmon.
The ad, which cost $23,000 (U.S.) and is to run today, takes aim at farmed fish bred off British Columbia’s coast. The ad singles out six top grocery chains, including Safeway and Whole Foods. It urges readers to “tell these stores to stop selling farmed salmon.”

The ad has outraged the farmed-fish industry; one group has threatened to sue the environmentalists.

Yesterday, a lawyer for a farmed-fish trade group said opponents have routinely exaggerated the environmental impact of fish farms.

“Bad science, false statements, product disparagement,” said Cleta Mitchell, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who represents the group Salmon of the Americas.

“It’s not appropriate and it’s not true.”

Ms. Mitchell said the fish farmers “will not hesitate to pursue” legal action against the coalition if the ad contains false information.

The ad shows a photo of a salmon, with accompanying text that says: “Farm salmon are fed antibiotics, colorants and pesticides.”

It’s the most aggressive tactic yet by the Coast Alliance for Aquaculture Reform, an umbrella group of B.C. conservationists, fishermen and First Nations.

The ad is sure to test the already strained relations between B.C.’s $300-million fish-farm industry and its increasingly vocal opponents.

Environmentalists say salmon bred in nets off British Columbia’s coast pollute the ocean, spread disease and contain toxins not found in wild salmon.

Jennifer Lash of the Living Oceans Society said the Times ad was a last resort, purchased in a bid to bring supermarkets into a discussion about the environmental effects of salmon farming.

“We really weren’t given a choice but to ramp things up a bit in order to say to [grocery stores], ‘Look, this is an issue that is not going to go away. This is an issue that’s very important to the people of British Columbia.’ ”

The coalition has targeted U.S. grocery stores because 80 per cent of British Columbia’s farmed salmon is exported to the United States.

Starting last October, the coalition mailed brochures to about 2,100 grocery stores and food retailers.

The brochures advanced the anti-farm argument and urged the retailer to boycott farmed salmon until the industry raised its environmental standards.

But few retailers responded, Ms. Lash said.

Fish-farm opponents, who have some scientific backing, also blame West Coast fish farms for a disastrous decline in British Columbia’s pink salmon.

They say the decline was caused by an infestation of sea lice from fish farms that the juvenile pinks swam through on their way to the ocean.

The ad is based on a similar campaign employed by environmentalists in the late 1990s, urging a U.S. boycott of lumber from British Columbia’s old-growth forests.

From: Lynn Hunter hunterlynn@shaw.ca

===========================

Closed-tank fish farm proposed:

The Suzuki Foundation gives guarded approval to Seattle firm’s plan

The Vancouver Sun 06 Nov 2003 Section: Business BC
Byline: Gerry Bellett, Source: Vancouver Sun

A Seattle-based company claims to have the answer to many of the environmental concerns raised Wednesday by protesters targeting the B.C. salmon-farming industry.

Mariculture Systems Inc. says it has developed a closed fish farm system using floating tanks that avoid the pollution and escapement problems of convention net-based fish farms. All they need now is investors with $1.7 million to help them install four tanks off B.C.’s coast near Quadra Island so they can put their tanks to the test.

“We’re hoping to have the capital by the middle of December and the tanks will be installed over the winter,” Dave Meilahny, president of Mariculture, said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Wednesday was a “day of action” against salmon farming, organized by the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform.

The B.C.-based alliance said they were taking their “farmed and dangerous” message to supermarkets and grocery stores in a number of Canadian and U.S. cities including Seattle, San Francisco, Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo.

The alliance claims Atlantic salmon bred in fish farms cause disease in wild salmon stocks, create pollution and pose a threat to public health. They want stores to stop selling farmed fish until “the industry is reformed to ensure its operations are safe and healthy,” according to a released statement.

But Meilahny said his Sargo Rearing System would address many of the environmental concerns.

“There’s no problem with fish escaping or predators getting in and all the
fish waste and uneaten food is removed from the tank and can be either processed into fertilizer or rendered inert,” he said.

The system uses fibreglass tanks — each capable of holding 50,000 fish — and was developed in Puget Sound under a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said Meilahny.

“The tanks can withstand winds of 100 m.p.h. and six-foot waves, so they’re not designed for the open ocean,” he said.

The system was intended to grow species of Pacific salmon, not the Atlantic salmon that are currently being raised in fish farms in coastal B.C. That would also help answer concerns about escaped Atlantic salmon jeopardizing native salmon habitat.

The tanks have filters to prevent the spread of sea lice and a pumping system to add oxygen to sea water to encourage growth, said Meilahny.

Meilahny said it would prove too expensive to operate the system in Washington state, which was the reason the company has contracted a lease with a Quadra Island fish farm.

“In Washington it would cost over $1 million (US) by the time all the permits and licence fees were paid to the local, state and federal government,” he said.

Otto Langer of the David Suzuki Foundation gave the system guarded approval.

“There’s still the issue of using antibiotics to keep fish healthy,” he
said.

“But this kind of system is a big step in the right direction and Sargo appears to be in the front row. I’d like to see the system in place so it can be given a true test,” said Langer, the foundation’s expert on fish farming.

“The open net farm creates 80 per cent of the problems but the closed system patches the holes between the natural environment and what’s inside the tank and that’s the biggest improvement that can be made at this time,” he said.

From: Lynn Hunter